predator

noun
pred·​a·​tor | \ ˈpre-də-tər How to pronounce predator (audio) , -ˌtȯr How to pronounce predator (audio) \

Essential Meaning of predator

1 : an animal that lives by killing and eating other animals : an animal that preys on other animals predators like bears and wolves The population of rabbits is controlled by natural predators.
2 : a person who looks for other people in order to use, control, or harm them in some way a sexual predator [=a person who commits sexual crimes against other people] a corporate predator acquiring business rivals

Full Definition of predator

1 : 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
2 : one who injures or exploits others for personal gain or profit Businessmen, he believed, were often predators— Nathan 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for predator

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web Wildlife advocates have objected to the bid to lift protections, saying state officials in the northern Rockies are intent on driving down populations of grizzlies and another predator, gray wolves. Matthew Brown, ajc, 15 Dec. 2021 Wildlife advocates have objected to the bid to lift protections, saying state officials in the northern Rockies are intent on driving down populations of grizzlies and another predator, gray wolves. Matthew Brown, Anchorage Daily News, 15 Dec. 2021 Epstein’s history as a predator of underage girls has been widely covered in news media, documentaries and books. Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2021 As a predator, Dudash is required to check in regularly with the Hollywood Police Department. Eileen Kelley, sun-sentinel.com, 4 Nov. 2021 During closing statements on Wednesday, federal prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes drove home the point that R. Kelly used his fame to take advantage of underaged girls and boys, as well as young women, characterizing the R&B singer as a predator. Jem Aswad, Variety, 27 Sep. 2021 Many regard the great white shark as the scariest predator in the ocean, but oceanographer Jacques Cousteau regarded the oceanic whitetip to be the most dangerous of all sharks. Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2021 On the big screen, the Tyrannosaurus rex is often depicted as a predator that could easily catch up to a speeding car with a few swift stomps. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Apr. 2021 Bobbit worms belong to a class of worms known as polychaetes, some of which are vegetarians, and some of which grow as large as the predator in question. Matt Simon, Wired, 21 Jan. 2021

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

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for predator

Time Traveler

The first known use of predator was in 1581

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Dictionary Entries Near predator

predative

predator

predatorial

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Statistics for predator

Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Predator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/predator. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for predator

predator

noun
pred·​a·​tor | \ ˈpre-də-tər How to pronounce predator (audio) \

Kids Definition of predator

: an animal that lives mostly by killing and eating other animals

More from Merriam-Webster on predator

Nglish: Translation of predator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of predator for Arabic Speakers

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