pre·​da·​tion pri-ˈdā-shən How to pronounce predation (audio)
: 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
: 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 Unfortunately, local kelp forests have declined by more than 80% in size over the past decade due to warmer waters and unchecked predation by urchins. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Here, caribou calves would be much more susceptible to predation and death. TIME, 8 Feb. 2024 Killer whale predation, entanglement in fishing nets, biotoxins and collisions with vessels also contributed to the gray whale deaths. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2024 Their role in controlling these numbers, whether through direct predation or indirect behavioral influence, is pivotal to the resilience of coral ecosystems. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2024 Palmer hypothesizes that Buffalo are less vigilant than zebras, and so might be spending more time in less open areas of the savannah, but follow-up research is needed to further explore this theory and to assess if the buffalo population is changing amid the new pressure of lion predation. Popular Science, 25 Jan. 2024 Some scientists worry about the broader implications of the orcas’ predation tactic and plan to research it further. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 6 Mar. 2024 But as beneficial as this might be for the orcas, Port and Starboard’s predation has led to the displacement of a number of shark species, according to the new paper. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Mar. 2024 The researchers built a complex computer model of community evolution with 20 different mathematical parameters including things like predation rate and baseline mortality. Lauren Leffer, Popular Science, 18 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near predation

Cite this Entry

“Predation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


pre·​da·​tion pri-ˈdā-shən How to pronounce predation (audio)
: a way of life in which food is obtained mostly by killing and eating animals

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