prey

noun
\ ˈprā How to pronounce prey (audio) \
plural prey also preys

Definition of prey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an animal taken by a predator as food
b : one that is helpless or unable to resist attack : victim was prey to his own appetites
2 : the act or habit of preying
3 archaic : spoil, booty

prey

verb
preyed; preying

Definition of prey (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to seize and devour prey
b : to commit violence or robbery or fraud
2 : to have an injurious, destructive, or wasting effect worry preyed upon his mind
3 : to make raids for the sake of booty

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Other Words from prey

Verb

preyer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for prey

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of prey in a Sentence

Noun The lion stalked its prey. The bird circled above looking for prey. The seals are easy prey for sharks. Too often elderly people are easy prey for swindlers and other criminals.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On the other hand, as everyone knows, mice are the favorite prey of cats. Longreads, "Why Bumblebees Love Cats and Other Beautiful Relationships," 23 Mar. 2021 Besides, weren't humans and wolves competing for the same prey? Star Tribune, "The leftovers' route to dog domestication," 14 Jan. 2021 Besides, weren’t humans and wolves competing for the same prey? James Gorman, New York Times, "The Leftovers Route to Dog Domestication," 7 Jan. 2021 There were a total of 24 teams competing for the deepwater prey. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Young Guns fishing team reels in Swordfish championship," 8 Oct. 2020 Sena knew that predators usually hunt near the water, where prey is abundant. BostonGlobe.com, "His plane crashed in the Amazon. Then came the hard part," 28 Mar. 2021 Furniture orders fell prey to disruptions in China’s production line. Washington Post, "Opening a new hotel is never easy. Try doing it during a pandemic.," 19 Mar. 2021 The microbes finish degrading down what’s left of the unlucky prey. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "This complex microbial warfare is taking place in a single drop of water," 25 Feb. 2021 While Cedar Creek is only about 9 square miles, wolves cover 15 to 20 miles a day searching for prey. Greg Stanley, Star Tribune, "A pack of wolves thrived near Minneapolis; how it died offers lessons for the future," 6 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While there are no natural predators in the Atlantic Ocean to prey on lionfish, divers spearing them have begun to get sharks, groupers and moray eels to eat them. John Christopher Fine, sun-sentinel.com, "Lionfish menace continues | Opinion," 9 Apr. 2021 The soul of a killer travels via electrical wires to prey on people in a single mother’s address book. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘My Fair Lady’; ‘Marry Poppins’," 19 Mar. 2021 Given the rampant use of social media and rise of online dating services, the opportunity for scammers to prey on individuals is only growing, explained Emma Fletcher, an analyst at the FTC. Shirin Ali, CNN, "Scam artists lurking on dating apps and social media made away with a record haul in 2020," 21 Feb. 2021 More pets, particularly small and easy-to-grab breeds and puppies, are being stolen and resold by thieves eager to prey on petless people’s desires for animal companionship. Melissa Chan, Time, "Lady Gaga Got Her Dogs Back, but as Criminals Capitalize on the Demand for Pandemic Pups, Others Aren't So Lucky," 12 Mar. 2021 Patrick Kearney's victims were all men, however, while Riverdale's guy seems to prey on women. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Is the Trash Bag Killer on "Riverdale" Based on a Real Serial Killer?," 11 Mar. 2021 That desperation has attracted scammers who are keen to prey on frustrated gamers and parents by promising resale consoles at reasonable prices on Twitter and Facebook. Janhoi Mcgregor, Forbes, "PS5 Goldrush: Restock Accounts Are Making “Thousands” As Scammers Hijack Popular Twitter Profiles," 2 Mar. 2021 Surely, some teams tried to prey on that desire, hoping the Colts would get desperate and relent to high demands. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Colts believe in Carson Wentz but they’re not betting farm on him," 18 Feb. 2021 Try not to disclose any identifying information on your social media platforms, Hunter suggests -- people who prey on French bulldogs could find your dog this way. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "There's a reason why French bulldogs are such frequent targets for thieves," 26 Feb. 2021

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for prey

Noun

Middle English preie, from Anglo-French, from Latin praeda; akin to Latin prehendere to grasp, seize — more at get

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French preier, from Latin praedari, from praeda

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Time Traveler for prey

Time Traveler

The first known use of prey was in the 13th century

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Statistics for prey

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prey. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for prey

prey

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prey

: an animal that is hunted or killed by another animal for food
: someone who is easily harmed or affected in a bad way by someone or something

prey

noun
\ ˈprā How to pronounce prey (audio) \

Kids Definition of prey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an animal that is hunted or killed by another animal for food
2 : a person that is helpless and unable to escape attack : victim

prey

verb
preyed; preying

Kids Definition of prey (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to hunt and kill for food The dogs survived by preying on small game.
2 : to have a harmful effect Fears prey on my mind.

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