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

  • adj. Taking by force; plundering.
  • adj. Greedy; ravenous. See Synonyms at voracious.
  • adj. Subsisting on live prey.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Voracious; avaricious.
  • adj. Given to taking by force or plundering.
  • adj. Subsisting off live prey.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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


From Latin rapāx, rapāc-, from rapere, to seize; see rep- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps from rapacity + -ous, in any case ultimately from Latin rapax ("grasping, greedy"). (Wiktionary)



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  • 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

  • 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