pre·​da·​tion | \ pri-ˈdā-shən \

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

Bork was also largely untroubled by the dangers of predation—pricing products at below marginal cost in the short-run with the hope of recouping gains once local rivals are driven out of the market. Richard A. Epstein, WSJ, "‘The Curse of Bigness’ Review: Revisiting the Gilded Age," 2 Dec. 2018 In and around the wind farm, lizard populations exploded, completely unchecked by predation. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Turbines Kill So Many Birds They're Effectively an Apex Predator," 6 Nov. 2018 Critters achieve this by avoiding predation and surviving long enough to pass down their genes. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?," 2 Oct. 2018 In some cases priests used sacramental objects as props for their diabolical predations. C.c. Pecknold, WSJ, "The Catholic Bishops Who Failed Us All," 16 Aug. 2018 In fact, according to previous research, cat predation has been linked to the extinction of 20 mammal species in Australia already. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Australian Feral Cats Eat More Than a Million Reptiles Per Day," 26 June 2018 Those measures have also significantly cut the number of fish being lost to bird predation. Gregory B. Hladky,, "Hatcheries Try Guns, Nets, Noise To Protect Fish From Invading Birds," 21 May 2018 As pens have reduced leopard predation by as much as 95 percent in some areas, says Namgail, a space has opened for snow leopard ecotourism. Adam Popescu, Washington Post, "Tracking one of the world’s most elusive cats," 19 May 2018 Without significant support, these new democracies are exposed to predations by populist and authoritarian leaders. Christopher Claassen, Washington Post, "Support for democracy is declining — but not in the U.S. or other Western democracies," 5 July 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

9 Jan 2019

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

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English Language Learners Definition of predation

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

More from Merriam-Webster on predation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with predation Encyclopedia article about predation

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