Meaning of EAT in English


I. ˈēt, usu ˈēd.+V verb

( ate ˈā]t chiefly in substand speech ˈe]t, usu ]d.+V; Brit ˈet sometimes ˈāt ; or dialect eat ˈe]t, ˈē]t, usu ]d.+V ; also et ˈet, usu ˈed.+V ; eat·en ˈēt ə n ; or dialect eat ˈe]t, ˈē]t, usu ]d.+V ; also et ˈet, usu ˈed.+V ; eat·ing ˈēd.iŋ, ˈētiŋ ; eats ˈēts)

Etymology: Middle English eten, from Old English etan; akin to Old High German ezzan to eat, Old Norse eta, Gothic itan, Latin esse, edere, Greek (Homeric) edmenai to eat, Sanskrit atti he eats, admi I eat

transitive verb


a. : to take in through the mouth as food

sat eating a ripe plum

: ingest, chew, and swallow (food) — used of solids and then contrasted with drink

he ate his sandwich and drank a glass of milk

or broadly of both solids and liquids

he eats dinner at noon

eat your soup

b. : to use as food : make a food of : obtain nourishment from

the carnivores eat meat

eat whatever is put before you

2. : destroy, use up, or waste by or as if by eating : devour , consume , ravage

time eats the strongest walls

the wooded hills were eaten by fire

locusts ate the country bare

an inheritance eaten up by debt

3. : to take in in order to obtain some benefit (as nourishment, wisdom, or comfort)

Thy words were found, and I ate them — Jer. 15:16 (Revised Standard Version)


a. : to consume gradually

waves eating the cliffs

: waste or wear away

eaten by a high fever

: corrode

acid eating the surface of a metal plate

b. slang

(1) : to consume with vexation

what's eating her now

(2) : to defeat decisively

our team can eat those chumps


a. obsolete : to submit tamely to (as insult or abuse) : accept as one's portion — compare eat crow , eat dirt

b. slang : to accept unquestioningly : believe uncritically — usually used with up

he ate up the stories of our journeys


a. : to gnaw, perforate, or bore into

the timber was so eaten by termites as to be useless

b. : to bring (as oneself) to a particular state by eating

he ate himself sick

the peach was eaten hollow by Japanese beetles

he'll eat us out of house and home

intransitive verb

1. : to take food or a meal

where shall we eat this evening

broadly : board

I eat at the little café around the corner

2. : to present a specified quality or characteristic when eaten

crackers alone eat very dry

the beef ate surprisingly tender


a. : to affect something by a gradual destructive action — used with into

the acid ate into the metal

an ulcer ate into the flesh

b. : to use up in part especially over a period of time — used with into

smokers eat greedily into dollar reserves — English Digest

his extravagances ate into his inheritance

4. slang : to annoy or irritate someone — used with on

what's eating on her


swallow , ingest , devour , consume : eat is a general term, often without especial connotation; figuratively, it may indicate a wasting or wearing away, often gradual

the river has been eating away its west bank rather than east — American Guide Series: Louisiana

poor Mother, the farm has eaten away her life — Ellen Glasgow

swallow may focus attention on passage down the throat without chewing or without much chewing

chewing pemmican and swallowing army bread — F.V.W.Mason

Figuratively, it implies a seizing, taking in, engulfing, encompassing, or dominating so that existence or identity of the object concerned is threatened or lost

in opera the music swallows the words and the other arts of the theater — Susanne K. Langer

Detroit burst its bounds, swallowed other sizable cities — American Guide Series: Michigan

ingest indicates with comprehensiveness and indefiniteness any process of taking through the mouth and into the stomach

does a man dine well because he ingests the requisite number of calories? — Walter Lippmann

anyone who accidentally ingests some of the fluid should not go untreated — H.G.Armstrong

Figuratively, it likewise stresses the fact of reception, absorption, or assimilation without more specific suggestion

ingested the statement slowly, thought, and then began to express surprise — Elizabeth Bowen

the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics wants to annex and ingest as many satellite nations as possible — B.A.Javits

devour indicates an eating up wholly, typically with force, intemperance, greed, or rapacity

it is only when an object in the water is still that a shark can devour it — H.A.Chippendale

crossties are of steel, since the customary wooden ties would be quickly devoured by insects — Tom Marvel

Figuratively, it implies greedy or very avid seizing or using

an omnivorous reader, devouring history, biography, philosophy, science, and fiction — A.F.Harlow

consume may stress the fact of using up entirely by eating or drinking or otherwise employing or assimilating

taking a piece of asparagus in her hand, she was deeply mortified at seeing her hostess consume the vegetable with the aid of a knife and fork — G.B.Shaw

one famous class of British locomotives consumed about 52 pounds of coal per mile on ordinary express duty — O.S.Nock

It may indicate utter consumption accomplished forcefully, fiercely, or wastefully

the first two buildings occupying this site were destroyed by fire, the last being consumed in the flames that swept the city in 1794 — American Guide Series: Louisiana

- eat crow

- eat dirt

- eat high on the hog

- eat one's head off

- eat one's heart out

- eat one's words

- eat out of one's hand

- eat someone's salt

- eat stick

- eat the air

II. ˈēt, usu ˈēd.+V\ noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English et, from Old English ǣt; akin to Old High German āz food, Old Norse āt, Russian eda; derivative from the root of English eat (I)

: something to eat : food — usually used in plural

saw the jolly bunch come waltzing in for eats — Sinclair Lewis

III. transitive verb

1. : to perform fellatio or cunnilingus on — usually considered vulgar

2. : to bear the expense of : take a loss on

rather than eat the loss, most retailers have been insisting that manufacturers offer discounts — James Traub

- eat alive

- eat someone's lunch

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.