from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To ransack; plunder.
- intransitive v. To engage in plundering.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. to ransack or plunder
- v. to engage in plundering
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To subject to plunder and pillage; to despoil; to lay waste; to prey upon.
- intransitive v. To take plunder or prey; to commit waste.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To prey upon, either by consumption or destruction, or by plunder and pillage; despoil; lay waste.
- To take plunder or prey; commit waste: as, wild animals depredate upon the corn; thieves have depredated on my property.
My dictionary gives the meaning of "depredate" as "to plunder or lay waste to", something Vikings would do, but not snails.
By degrees the dwellings became filled with a loose and lawless population; contrabandistas, who availed themselves of its independent jurisdiction to carry on a wide and daring course of smuggling, and thieves and rogues of all sorts, who made this their place of refuge whence they might depredate upon Granada and its vicinity.
Whatever concern may have been felt by either of the belligerent powers lest private armed cruisers or other vessels in the service of one might be fitted out in the ports of this country to depredate on the property of the other, all such fears have proved to be utterly groundless.
By degrees the dwellings became filled up with a loose and lawless population; contrabandistas, who availed themselves of its independent jurisdiction to carry on a wide and daring course of smuggling, and thieves and rogues of all sorts, who made this their place of refuge from whence they might depredate upon Granada and its vicinity.
Continuing, he charged the general with inciting his employés to depredate on the fences and fields.
The men themselves are strong, able-bodied workers, and I shall miss them; but once having begun to depredate upon me, nothing will stop them.
Of course hungry and half-starved squirrels will depredate, -- on birds 'nests, fruit and gardens.
Finding little to eat in the bleak, snow-drifted woods, it soon began to depredate on the moose, and killed two or three, generally by lying in wait and dashing out on them as they passed near its lurking-place.
There is, also, this advantage, there being several plants in each hill, the cut-worm has to depredate pretty severely before he really injures the piece; again, should the seed not vegetate in any of the hills, every farmer will appreciate the advantage of having healthy plants growing so near at hand that they can be transferred to the vacant spaces with their roots so undisturbed that their growth is hardly checked.
I have been told that superstitious thieves hang veils or kerchiefs before the picture in rooms where they depredate.