Definitions

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

  • n. An animal hunted or caught for food; quarry.
  • n. One that is defenseless, especially in the face of attack; a victim.
  • n. The act or practice of preying.
  • intransitive v. To hunt, catch, or eat as prey: Owls prey on mice.
  • intransitive v. To victimize or make a profit at someone else's expense.
  • intransitive v. To plunder or pillage.
  • intransitive v. To exert a baneful or injurious effect: Remorse preyed on his mind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Anything, as goods, etc., taken or got by violence; anything taken by force from an enemy in war; spoil; booty; plunder.
  • n. That which is or may be seized by animals or birds to be devoured; hence, a person given up as a victim.
  • n. A living thing that is eaten by another living thing.
  • v. To victimize, hunt, attack or plunder.
  • v. To devour.
  • v. To exert harmful influence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Anything, as goods, etc., taken or got by violence; anything taken by force from an enemy in war; spoil; booty; plunder.
  • n. That which is or may be seized by animals or birds to be devoured; hence, a person given up as a victim.
  • n. The act of devouring other creatures; ravage.
  • intransitive v. To take booty; to gather spoil; to ravage; to take food by violence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • An obsolete form of pray.
  • n. Goods taken by robbery or pillage; spoil; booty; plunder.
  • n. That which is seized by any carnivorous animal to be devoured; quarry, as of a raptorial bird.
  • n. Hence That which is given into the power of another or others; a victim.
  • n. The act of preying or seizing upon anything.
  • n. The act of seizing in order to devour; seizure, as by a carnivorous animal of its victim.
  • n. Synonyms Booty, etc. (see pillage).
  • n. Ravin.
  • To take booty; commit robbery or pillage; seize spoils: generally with on or upon.
  • To seize and devour an animal as prey: generally followed by on or upon.
  • To exert wasting or destroying power or influence ; bring injury, decay, or destruction: generally followed by on or upon.
  • To ravage; pillage; make prey of.

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

  • n. animal hunted or caught for food
  • n. a person who is the aim of an attack (especially a victim of ridicule or exploitation) by some hostile person or influence
  • v. profit from in an exploitatory manner
  • v. prey on or hunt for

Etymologies

Middle English preie, from Old French, from Latin praeda, booty, prey; see ghend- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old French preie, one of the variants of proie, from Latin praeda. Compare predator. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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