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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With his eccentric mannerisms and caterpillar eyebrows, Mr. Zemmour was easy prey for cartoonists — attracting comparisons to Gargamel, the villain from the Smurfs. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 But condo towers, hotels and restaurants generate lights that draw hatchlings inland, where they get run over, dry out, or end up easy prey for birds and raccoons. David Fleshler, sun-sentinel.com, 8 May 2021 Chinese officials and their local allies are convinced that years of liberal education have poisoned Hong Kong’s young minds, leaving them easy prey for foreign troublemakers. The Economist, 20 Mar. 2021 TBoug_Getty Images Originally a hunter of small prey, the Australian Silky Terrier is a feisty dog, despite only weighing eight to 10 pounds when fully grown. Jamie Ballard, Woman's Day, 3 May 2022 The different shapes allow this predator to hold, break then crush and grind the shells and any crunchy outer bits of other prey upon which this species feeds. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 1 May 2022 Perilous moments such as crocodiles hunting fish or large animals hunting smaller prey are accompanied by suspenseful music, lending a dramatic tone. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 Giant ichthyosaurs with teeth were likely similar to sperm whales and killer whales today, using their teeth to capture prey like giant squid. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 28 Apr. 2022 The findings may help scientists better understand what giant ichthyosaurs fed on and how the whale-size creatures captured prey. NBC News, 28 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The blooms on lettuce plants can attract pollinators such as bees and other bugs that prey on garden pests. Lynn Coulter, Better Homes & Gardens, 9 May 2022 There are all of these stories that prey on parents’ fear of the unknown, and fear of new technology that their children are using. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 8 Apr. 2022 And the human traffickers that prey on the desperation of people looking for a better life need to pay the consequences. The Arizona Republic, 10 Jan. 2022 The changes came after hunters and ranchers successfully lobbied to reduce wolf populations that prey on big game herds and occasionally on livestock. Matthew Brown, CBS News, 7 Jan. 2022 The changes came after hunters and ranchers successfully lobbied to reduce wolf populations that prey on big game herds and occasionally on livestock. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, 7 Jan. 2022 The changes came after hunters and ranchers successfully lobbied for measures to reduce wolf populations that prey on big game herds and occasionally on livestock. Matthew Brown, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Jan. 2022 The changes came after hunters and ranchers successfully lobbied for measures to reduce wolf populations that prey on big game herds and occasionally on livestock. Matthew Brown, ajc, 6 Jan. 2022 In recent years, the mouse population has exploded, attracting burrowing owls that also prey on the ashy storm-petrel, officials said. Fox News, 19 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near prey

prexy

prey

prey on the mind of

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Statistics for prey

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prey. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for prey

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on prey

Nglish: Translation of prey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prey for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about prey

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