1 of 2

verb (1)

pre·​date (ˌ)prē-ˈdāt How to pronounce predate (audio)
predated; predating; predates


2 of 2

verb (2)

pre·​date pri-ˈdāt How to pronounce predate (audio)
predated; predating; predates

transitive + intransitive

: to prey on (something or someone)
Animals predate other animals in nature, but that is hardly commensurate with a massive worldwide farming industry that breeds species purely for our purpose.Jenny Diski
Are high-profile men that sexually predate women finally starting to lose immunity?Alex McKinnon
All cats may predate but those living indoors have little opportunity to do so.Kevin Stafford
There are many species that predate on pigeons and doves.Revati

Examples of predate in a Sentence

Verb (1) modes of transportation that predate the car the native people who predated European settlers in America
Recent Examples on the Web
For most restaurant owners, the hateful messages predate the latest assault. Amber Ferguson, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2023 This was a clear denouncement of the Chinese government’s attempts to interfere in the reincarnation system, a sentiment that was reinforced at a 2019 conference of the spiritual leaders of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon (the Tibetan religious tradition that predated Buddhism), all living in exile. Lobsang Sangay, Foreign Affairs, 6 Nov. 2023 The earliest examples of galleries in New York, from the first half of the 19th century, predate every major museum and auction house in the metropolitan area, not to mention Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and Grand Central Terminal. M.h. Miller, New York Times, 25 Sep. 2023 Mark Twain’s 1873 satire, The Gilded Age predated Teddy Roosevelt’s attack on the plutocrats by 30 years. Jonathan Taplin, Rolling Stone, 24 Sep. 2023 Or, if a lineage of caterpillars was predated on by wasps adapted to quickly spot a certain pattern, future generations might develop a different pattern. Corey Buhay, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Oct. 2023 Work on Horizon — co-written by Costner and Jon Baird (Filth, Tetris) — actually predates the release of Wolves; its origins reportedly go back to 1988, and Costner has been striving to get the project made since then (at one point, Horizon was set up at Disney). James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Oct. 2023 It has been sold in various forms for more than 75 years, predating the agency’s own regulations on drug effectiveness. Matthew Perrone, Fortune Well, 12 Sep. 2023 Researchers determined that potential graves found around the school had no connection to the institution and predated the school by about 100 years, according to a CBC report. Michael Lee, Fox News, 10 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'predate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb (2)

back-formation from predator or predatory

First Known Use

Verb (1)

1854, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1941, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of predate was in 1854

Dictionary Entries Near predate

Cite this Entry

“Predate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


pre·​date (ˈ)prē-ˈdāt How to pronounce predate (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on predate

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