Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[kan-uh-buh-lahyz] /ˈkæn ə bəˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), cannibalized, cannibalizing.
to subject to cannibalism.
to remove parts, equipment, assets, employees, etc., from (an item, product, or business) in order to use them in another:
to cannibalize old airplanes for replacement parts.
to cut into; cause to become reduced; diminish:
New products introduced in the next six months will cannibalize sales from established lines.
verb (used without object), cannibalized, cannibalizing.
to act cannibalistically; practice cannibalism.
Also, especially British, cannibalise.
Origin of cannibalize
First recorded in 1940-45; cannibal + -ize
Related forms
cannibalization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for cannibalize
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I dread the time when I shall have to cannibalize the recorder.

    The Issahar Artifacts Jesse Franklin Bone
British Dictionary definitions for cannibalize


(transitive) to use (serviceable parts from one machine or vehicle) to repair another, esp as an alternative to using new parts
Derived Forms
cannibalization, cannibalisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cannibalize

1798 (in Burke's memoirs), figurative, and meaning "be perverted into cannibalism," from cannibal + -ize. Meaning "take parts from one construction and use them in another" is from 1943, originally of military equipment. Related: Cannibalized; cannibalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for cannibalize

Word Value for cannibalize

Scrabble Words With Friends