om·​niv·​o·​rous | \äm-ˈniv-rəs, -ˈni-və-\

Definition of omnivorous 

1 : feeding on both animal and vegetable substances omnivorous animals

2 : avidly taking in everything as if devouring or consuming an omnivorous reader omnivorous curiosity

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Other Words from omnivorous

omnivorously adverb

Examples of omnivorous in a Sentence

She is an omnivorous reader. a child with omnivorous curiosity

Recent Examples on the Web

The omnivorous crustaceans graze on phytoplankton in open water, and some larger adults crawl along the sea floor. Elaina Zachos, National Geographic, "Thousands of Tiny Red Crustaceans Strand on California Beach," 12 June 2018 Musicians are often just as omnivorous in their tastes and interests as listeners are, and Gay is a model for such broad thinking and creativity. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Jazz / Music / Post No Bills Chicago musical polymath Ben LaMar Gay breaks even his own shape-shifting mold on his solo debut," 5 Mar. 2018 The omnivorous, ground-dwelling lizards are found in Australia, eastern Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Shane Black, National Geographic, "This Lizard Has a Blue, Ultraviolet Tongue—Here’s Why," 8 June 2018 And this will of course keep going, the perpetual American cycle of Facebook and Roseanne and believing the absolute worst of those who disagree with anybody on anything, this ongoing culture-war logic, omnivorous and all-consuming. Will Leitch, Daily Intelligencer, "Roger Goodell Is the Prototypical Trump Enabler," 30 May 2018 By Linda and Alex Meyer (Page Street, 192 pages, $21.99) Hospitable omnivorous host, meet your summertime kitchen helper. The Washington Post,, "7 delightful cookbooks to savor this summer," 29 May 2018 This year’s list includes a rare great ape, a hitchhiking beetle, an extinct omnivorous marsupial lion and many species that are critically endangered. Sean Greene,, "A rare great ape, a 130-foot-tall tree and an extinct marsupial lion make the Top 10 New Species list for 2018," 23 May 2018 Earwigs are actually omnivorous, and primarily feed on decaying organic matter as well as those pest insects. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Control Earwigs In Your Garden—And Keep Them From Getting In Your House," 29 Mar. 2017 The group latches onto anything that catches the omnivorous musical fancy of founder and artistic director David Harrington, and brings it into the orbit of the string quartet world — or better still, goes forth to meet it halfway. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Kronos Festival is an eclectic treat," 28 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of omnivorous

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for omnivorous

Latin omnivorus, from omni- + -vorus -vorous

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Time Traveler for omnivorous

The first known use of omnivorous was circa 1656

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More Definitions for omnivorous



English Language Learners Definition of omnivorous

: eating both plants and animals

: eager to learn about many different things


om·​niv·​o·​rous | \äm-ˈni-və-rəs \

Kids Definition of omnivorous

: feeding on plants and animals


om·​niv·​o·​rous | \äm-ˈniv-(ə-)rəs \

Medical Definition of omnivorous 

: eating both animal and plant matter

Other Words from omnivorous

omnivorously adverb
omnivorousness noun

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