predation

noun
pre·​da·​tion | \ pri-ˈdā-shən How to pronounce predation (audio) \

Definition of predation

1 : the killing by one living organism of another for food These small fish are most vulnerable to predation just after sunset, when larger fish, such as barracuda and jacks, chase them into the shallow water near shore to feed on them.— Anne Brooke … elephant seals historically avoided the mainland to protect the newborns from predation by grizzly bears.— Carolyn Longstreth In other words, just as vascular plants make tannins, phenols, sterols and alkaloids to defend against predation, it is likely that cyanobacteria synthesize poisons to ward off attack by fellow planktonic species.— Wayne Carmichael : a mode of life in which food is primarily obtained by the killing and consuming of animals Predation is important to an understanding of ancient ecology because the food chain helps determine the structure of biological communities.— Derek Briggs and Harry Whittington Weeks or months later, depending on ambient temperatures, a beetle returns to the water to resume a life of predation.Natural History
2 : the act of injuring, exploiting, or plundering others for personal gain A burglary occurs every 10 seconds, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Such predation keeps Americans uneasy…Consumer Reports To the traditionalists, predation is any price or product strategy intended to impose costs on a competitor.Insight

Examples of predation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Each has evolved to mimic the wing pattern of a different poisonous butterfly, which helps protect them from predation. Quanta Magazine, "As Animals Mingle, a Baffling Genetic Barrier," 5 Aug. 2014 Fewer foxes, skunks and raccoons means less predation of quail and turkey. Shannon Tompkins, ExpressNews.com, "Meet the coyote, one of nature’s great tricksters," 13 June 2019 Thompson’s surveys also revealed a disproportionate number of older turtles, suggesting that fox predation had already reduced the amount of juveniles in the river. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "As Predicted, Some of Australia’s Turtles Are Going Extinct," 7 June 2019 Such intensive predation probably puts severe pressure on local populations of some reptile species. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Australian Feral Cats Eat More Than a Million Reptiles Per Day," 26 June 2018 In this alternative state, predation is high, so minnow numbers are curbed; this allows water fleas to thrive (which suppresses algae) and bass hatchlings to reach maturity. Quanta Magazine, "Nature’s Critical Warning System," 18 Nov. 2015 Carr paints a picture not just of a predator who went uncaught, but of a system that allowed his predation to occur with little oversight. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Erin Lee Carr’s New Documentary Is a Harrowing Look at the USA Gymnastics Scandal," 2 May 2019 Female orcas and their children can share strong bonds, and have been known to cooperate in predation. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Male Orca and Its Mother Worked Together to Kill a Newborn Calf," 27 Mar. 2018 In #MeToo, which began in the predations of Harvey Weinstein, Democrats and progressives finally have found a weapon against which there seems to be no defense. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "What Democrats Have Become," 19 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'predation.' 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 predation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for predation

Middle English predacion, from Latin praedation-, praedatio, from praedari

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Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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The first known use of predation was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for predation

predation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of predation

technical : the act of killing and eating other animals : the act of preying on other animals

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with predation

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about predation

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