from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A succession of organisms in an ecological community that constitutes a continuation of food energy from one organism to another as each consumes a lower member and in turn is preyed upon by a higher member.
  • n. Informal A competitive hierarchy: "was reduced to character roles while struggling to defend his position in the Hollywood food chain” ( Kathryn Shattuck).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The feeding relationships between species in a biotic community.
  • n. a hierarchy

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (ecology) a community of organisms where each member is eaten in turn by another member


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • For the first time that day, Micah Hayes showed his teeth, creating a wide, tooth-brandishing display, enough to freeze anything but the uppermost animals in the food chain in their tracks.

    Fault Line

  • They stay inside the tissues of living creatures, often bioaccumulating, which means they lodge in fat cells and get passed up the food chain at ever-increasing concentrations.


  • And the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 can be used to calculate the time that has elapsed since the death of the creature cut it off from the food chain and its interchange with the atmosphere.


  • Biomagnification of the concentration of such chemicals in the food chain was found to be dangerous to human health.

    Diffusion of Innovations

  • Nonorganic poultry and meats are packed with hormones and antibiotics, not to mention often full of PCBs, mercury, and other chemicals that accumulate up the food chain in the cows, pigs, lambs, and chickens we consume.

    The Autoimmune Epidemic

  • Birds of prey are especially susceptible to DDT poisoning, since it accumulates at the top of the food chain and reduces the hatchability of eggs.

    The Song of The Dodo

  • While a few well-known organochlorine insecticides that are notoriously injurious to animals—DDT, for example—have been banned in the United States, even these persist for decades in the soil in which our fruits and vegetables are grown and in our water, meanwhile accumulating up the food chain which is why traces of DDT can be found in the steaks Becky has yet to cook for dinner.

    The Autoimmune Epidemic

  • Secretaries for attorneys at my link in the food chain put little distance between joining Clay & Westminster and leaving it.

    Walls of Silence


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