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

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for predator



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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 Of more importance to the department was the goal of controlling the number of yellow bass in the lake by introducing another predator fish. Nataly Keomoungkhoun, Dallas News, "Pickles, disappearing fish and amusement parks: 10 topics Curious Texas explored in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 This Ice Age wolf puppy doesn’t look much like a fearsome predator, what with her tiny puppy teeth and soft little ears. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Yukon gold miner unearths a mummified Ice Age wolf pup," 22 Dec. 2020 Ultra-black coloration can even help hide a predator fish from its own light. Danielle Hall, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Top Ten Ocean Stories of 2020," 17 Dec. 2020 Imagine a predator looking down on a fish from above and to one side. Helen Czerski, WSJ, "The Ingenious Camouflage of Fish Skin," 17 Dec. 2020 At such depths, the animals have a better chance of avoiding their main predator, killer whales. NBC News, "Researchers think they spotted new whale species off Mexico," 11 Dec. 2020 The tyrannosaur, for instance, will shed light how T. rex went from hatchling to hulking predator. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "'Dueling Dinosaurs' fossil, hidden from science for 14 years, could finally reveal its secrets," 17 Nov. 2020 Further, a team of U.S. researchers has found that exposure to oil impacts the developing hearts of larger predator fish, including tuna—which are plentiful in Mauritian waters—and also causes jaw defects, small eyes and other malformations. Khalil A. Cassimally, Scientific American, "Mauritians Launch Rescue to Save Wildlife from Oil Spill," 21 Aug. 2020 At one point, Reinking lopes, then freezes toward the camera, in amplified Fosse regalia, the hat and sparkles and dance boots, with the alternating precision of a predator and its paralyzed prey. Julie Klausner, The New Yorker, "The Electrifying Moves of Ann Reinking," 17 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for predator

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Predator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for predator


How to pronounce predator (audio) How to pronounce predator (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of predator

: an animal that lives by killing and eating other animals : an animal that preys on other animals
: a person who looks for other people in order to use, control, or harm them in some way


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

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