om·​ni·​vore | \ ˈäm-ni-ˌvȯr How to pronounce omnivore (audio) \

Definition of omnivore

: one that is omnivorous Bears and coyotes are omnivores.

The Classic Omnivore

Human beings seem to be classic omnivores. Originally living as "hunter-gatherers", we hunted and fished when possible but also gathered nuts, berries, fruits, seeds, and roots for much of our diet. We're physically well suited for both tasks; our hands are perfect for picking things, and our build is ideal for running down even the fastest game animals because of our great stamina. Some 10,000 years ago humans began practicing agriculture involving both animals and plants. The other omnivorous mammals include chimpanzees, pigs, opossums, porcupines, bears, raccoons, chipmunks, mice and rats, and skunks. But even many mammals classed as carnivorous turn out to be capable of shifting to plant foods when necessary.

Examples of omnivore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The sunfish is an omnivore that can measure 14 feet vertically and 10 feet horizontally. NBC News, 13 Dec. 2021 Britell is a stylistic omnivore who specializes in churning, off-kilter riffs on familiar forms. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 6 Dec. 2021 The nitrogen isotope signals can show if an animal was an herbivore, carnivore or omnivore. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 8 Nov. 2021 Jean-Georges Beverly Hills’ caters to gourmands with six- and 10-course omnivore tasting menus and a six-course vegetarian option. Jennifer Kester, Forbes, 4 Nov. 2021 Pago will be offering two different Thanksgiving meal kits — an omnivore and a vegetarian version. Palak Jayswal, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Nov. 2021 Humm recently shifted Eleven Madison Park from an omnivore’s menu to one focused on plants, a change that took effect this summer after his restaurant reopened from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2021 But Jones is Lagerfeld’s match as a cultural omnivore—cherry-picking culture high and low with ease. Tim Blanks, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2021 But the cast had already been convening throughout the pandemic for these miles-long, leisurely (or not) bike rides around town, led by Byrne, who is 69 and has the stamina of an athlete and the curiosity of a cultural omnivore. New York Times, 21 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'omnivore.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of omnivore

1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for omnivore

New Latin omnivora, neuter plural of omnivorus, from Latin

Learn More About omnivore

Time Traveler for omnivore

Time Traveler

The first known use of omnivore was in 1871

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near omnivore




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for omnivore

Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Omnivore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for omnivore



English Language Learners Definition of omnivore

: an animal that eats both plants and other animals


om·​ni·​vore | \ ˈäm-ni-ˌvȯr How to pronounce omnivore (audio) \

Kids Definition of omnivore

: an animal that feeds on plants and other animals

More from Merriam-Webster on omnivore

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for omnivore Encyclopedia article about omnivore


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!