pred·​a·​tor ˈpre-də-tər How to pronounce predator (audio) -ˌtȯr How to pronounce predator (audio)
: an organism that primarily obtains food by the killing and consuming of other organisms : an organism that lives by predation
The threadworm is a tiny nematode; its manifold kin include human parasites such as the hookworm, although the lab species is no parasite but an abundant, free-living predator of soil bacteria.Eleanor E. MacCoby
In a new environment, with no predators, an exotic plant can theoretically run riot.
especially : an animal that preys on other animals
With no large predators around, the koala rarely meets a violent end. Denis Gray
The picture that emerges from my research in a near-wilderness environment is that of the red fox as a specialized predator of small prey (insects, songbirds, small rodents, rabbits), with highly evolved and intriguing adaptations for this type of hunting … J. David Henry
Some spiders and caterpillars mimic bird droppings—an excellent strategy for deterring avian predators. James Martin
: one who injures or exploits others for personal gain or profit
Businessmen, he believed, were often predatorsNathan Glick
Neighborhood predators found that setting a fire was an excellent distraction for robbery. The burned-out structure could then be looted at leisure …Tom Buckley
see also sexual predator

Examples of predator in a Sentence

predators like bears and wolves The population of rabbits is controlled by natural predators. a corporate predator acquiring business rivals
Recent Examples on the Web One study that looked at fawn mortality in the absence of predators noted that fawns still found plenty of ways to die. Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, 27 June 2024 Life How some plants became carnivorous predators Carnivorous plants fascinate as much now as when their gruesome diet was first discovered. Big Think, 24 June 2024 The smaller pseudosuchians lived alongside the larger apex predators, according to the paper. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 20 June 2024 The stings are designed to drive off predators or immobilize prey. George Petras, USA TODAY, 18 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for predator 

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

Word History

First Known Use

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of predator was in 1581

Dictionary Entries Near predator

Cite this Entry

“Predator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


pred·​a·​tor ˈpred-ət-ər How to pronounce predator (audio) -ə-ˌtȯ(ə)r How to pronounce predator (audio)
: an animal that obtains food mostly by killing and eating other animals

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