Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To take into the body by the mouth for digestion or absorption.
  • transitive v. To take in and absorb as food: a plant that eats insects; a cell that eats bacteria.
  • transitive v. To include habitually or by preference in one's diet: a bird that eats insects, fruit, and seeds; stopped eating red meat on advice from her doctor.
  • transitive v. To destroy, ravage, or use up by or as if by ingesting: "Covering news in the field eats money” ( George F. Will).
  • transitive v. To erode or corrode: waves that ate away the beach; an acid that eats the surface of a machine part.
  • transitive v. To produce by or as if by eating: Moths ate holes in our sweaters.
  • transitive v. Slang To absorb the cost or expense of: "You can eat your loss and switch the remaining money to other investment portfolios” ( Marlys Harris).
  • transitive v. Informal To bother or annoy: What's eating him?
  • transitive v. Vulgar Slang To perform cunnilingus on. Often used with out.
  • intransitive v. To consume food.
  • intransitive v. To have or take a meal.
  • intransitive v. To exercise a consuming or eroding effect: a drill that ate away at the rock; exorbitant expenses that were eating into profits.
  • intransitive v. To cause persistent annoyance or distress: "How long will it be before the frustration eats at you?” ( Howard Kaplan).
  • eat up Slang To receive or enjoy enthusiastically or avidly: She really eats up the publicity.
  • eat up Slang To believe without question: He'll eat up whatever the broker tells him.
  • idiom eat crow To be forced to accept a humiliating defeat.
  • idiom eat (one's) heart out To feel bitter anguish or grief.
  • idiom eat (one's) heart out To be consumed by jealousy.
  • idiom eat (one's) words To retract something that one has said.
  • idiom eat out of (someone's) hand To be manipulated or dominated by another.
  • idiom eat (someone) alive Slang To overwhelm or defeat thoroughly: an inexperienced manager who was eaten alive in a competitive corporate environment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To consume (something solid or semi-solid, usually food) by putting it into the mouth and swallowing it.
  • v. To consume a meal.
  • v. To be eaten.
  • v. To destroy, consume, or use up.
  • v. To cause (someone) to worry.
  • v. To take the loss in a transaction.
  • v. To corrode or erode.
  • v. To damage, destroy, or fail to eject a removable part or an inserted object.
  • v. To consume money or (other instruments of value, such as a token) deposited or inserted by a user, while failing to either provide the intended product or service, or return the payment.
  • v. To perform oral sex on someone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To chew and swallow as food; to devour; -- said especially of food not liquid.
  • transitive v. To corrode, as metal, by rust; to consume the flesh, as a cancer; to waste or wear away; to destroy gradually; to cause to disappear.
  • intransitive v. To take food; to feed; especially, to take solid, in distinction from liquid, food; to board.
  • intransitive v. To taste or relish.
  • intransitive v. To make one's way slowly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To masticate and swallow as nourishment; partake of or devour as food: said especially of solids: as, to eat bread.
  • To corrode; wear away; gnaw into; consume; waste: generally with away, out, up, or into: as, rust has eaten away the surface; lines eaten out by aqua fortis; these cares eat up all my time.
  • To take food; feed.
  • To make way by corrosion; gnaw; penetrate or excavate by disorganization or destruction of substance: as, a cancer eats into the flesh.
  • To taste; relish: as, it eats like the finest peach.

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

  • v. take in food; used of animals only
  • v. worry or cause anxiety in a persistent way
  • v. use up (resources or materials)
  • v. take in solid food
  • v. eat a meal; take a meal
  • v. cause to deteriorate due to the action of water, air, or an acid

Etymologies

Middle English eten, from Old English etan; see ed- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English eten, from Old English etan ("to eat"), from Proto-Germanic *etanan (“to eat”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ed- (“to eat”). Cognate with Scots aet ("to eat"), West Frisian ite, Dutch eten ("to eat"), German essen ("to eat"), Swedish äta ("to eat"), Danish æde ("to eat"), and more distantly with Latin edō ("eat", v), Ancient Greek ἔδω (edō), Russian есть (jest', "to eat"), and Lithuanian ėsti. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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