Definition of scavenger
1 chiefly British : a person employed to remove dirt and refuse from streets
2 : one that scavenges: such asa : a garbage collectorb : a junk collectorc : a chemically active substance acting to make innocuous or remove an undesirable substance
3 : an organism that typically feeds on refuse or carrion
scavenger was our Word of the Day on 05/05/2014. Hear the podcast!
Recent Examples of scavenger from the Web
Israel launches the book this weekend with a scavenger hunt featuring items from the book, such as gummy bears and Dala horse toys.
There was also a photo scavenger hunt among the challenges.
Other Cleveland Beer Week notes: New: Lane said organizers are working on an event-long scavenger hunt throughout beer-week venues.
The clever brainchild of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia (GSHG) council, QuestFest has the makings of a classic scouting jamboree meets massive scavenger hunt set in the social media age.
In addition to exploring and discussing the show, which pairs photographs of O’Keeffe with examples of her work, young participants can enjoy scavenger hunts, art making, a fashion show, dancing and that all-important ingredient, food.
The game launched at the Toronto Fan Expo with a presentation by one of the game’s characters and a scavenger hunt for QR codes hidden throughout the Expo.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scavenger'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
You might guess that "scavenger" is a derivative of "scavenge," but the reverse is actually true; "scavenger" is the older word, first appearing in English in 1530, and the back-formation "scavenge" came into English in the mid-17th century. "Scavenger" is an alteration of the earlier "scavager," itself from Anglo-French scawageour, meaning "collector of scavage." In medieval times, "scavage" was a tax levied by towns and cities on goods put up for sale by nonresidents, in order to provide resident merchants with a competitive advantage. The officers in charge of collecting this tax were later made responsible for keeping streets clean, and that's how "scavenger" came to refer to a public sanitation employee in Great Britain before acquiring its current sense referring to a person who salvages discarded items.
Origin and Etymology of scavenger
alteration of earlier scavager, from Anglo-French scawageour collector of scavage (duty collected from non-resident street merchants), from skawage scavage, from Middle French dialect (Flanders) escauver to inspect, from Middle Dutch scouwen; akin to Old English scēawian to look at — more at show
First Known Use: 1530See Words from the same year
SCAVENGER Defined for Kids
Definition of scavenger for Students
1 : a person who picks over junk or garbage for useful items
2 : an animal (as a vulture) that feeds on dead or decaying material
Seen and Heard
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