from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having or showing a strong or excessive desire to acquire money or possess things; greedy.
  • adjective Living by killing prey, especially in large numbers.
  • adjective Taking things by force; plundering.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of a grasping habit or disposition; given to seizing for plunder or the satisfaction of greed, or obtaining wrongfully or by extortion; predatory; extortionate: as, a rapacious usurer; specifically, of animals, subsisting by capture of living prey; raptorial; predaceous: as, rapacious birds or fishes.
  • Of a grasping nature or character; characterized by rapacity; immoderately exacting; extortionate: as, a rapacious disposition; rapacious demands.
  • Synonyms Rapacious, Ravenous, Voracious. Rapacious, literally disposed to seize, may note, as the others do not, a distinctive characteristic of certain classes of animals; the tiger is a rapacious animal, but often not ravenous or voracious. Ravenous implies hunger of an extreme sort, shown in eagerness to eat. Voracious means that one eats or is disposed to eat a great deal, without reference to the degree of hunger: a glutton is voracious. Samuel Johnson tended to be a voracious eater, because in his early life he had often gone hungry till be was ravenous.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Given to plunder; disposed or accustomed to seize by violence; seizing by force.
  • adjective Accustomed to seize food; subsisting on prey, or animals seized by violence
  • adjective Avaricious; grasping; extortionate; also, greedy; ravenous; voracious

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Voracious; avaricious.
  • adjective Given to taking by force or plundering.
  • adjective of an animal Subsisting off live prey.

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

  • adjective excessively greedy and grasping
  • adjective devouring or craving food in great quantities
  • adjective living by preying on other animals especially by catching living prey


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

[From Latin rapāx, rapāc-, from rapere, to seize; see rep- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps from rapacity + -ous, in any case ultimately from Latin rapax ("grasping, greedy").


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  • 1. given to seizing for plunder or the satisfaction of greed.

    2. inordinately greedy; predatory; extortionate: a rapacious disposition.

    3. (of animals) subsisting by the capture of living prey; predacious.

    March 18, 2009

  • I like how the visuals show birds; namely raptors. However, the bullfrog inhabiting my pond is also rapacious. He seizes small birds and swallows them whole.

    August 3, 2011