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[dih-vou-uh r, -vou-er] /dɪˈvaʊ ər, -ˈvaʊ ər/
verb (used with object)
to swallow or eat up hungrily, voraciously, or ravenously.
to consume destructively, recklessly, or wantonly:
Fire devoured the old museum.
to engulf or swallow up.
to take in greedily with the senses or intellect:
to devour the works of Freud.
to absorb or engross wholly:
a mind devoured by fears.
Origin of devour
1275-1325; Middle English devouren < Anglo-French, Old French devourer < Latin dēvorāre to swallow down, equivalent to dē- de- + vorāre to eat up
Related forms
devourer, noun
devouringly, adverb
devouringness, noun
interdevour, verb (used with object)
predevour, verb (used with object)
redevour, verb (used with object)
self-devouring, adjective
undevoured, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for devourer
Historical Examples
  • And now I perceive that the devourer of Bliss hath taken thee in his net and multiplied thy sorrows upon thy head.

    All Men are Ghosts L. P. Jacks
  • Mightily grew and flourished the Wolf that was to be the devourer of Mani, the Moon.

    The Children of Odin Padraic Colum
  • In the Rmyaṇam it is recorded that the long-tongued witch (Drghaǵihv), the devourer, is killed by Indras.

    Zoological Mythology (Volume II) Angelo de Gubernatis
  • This annoyed the devourer a little but did not hinder his eating.

    The Hero of the People Alexandre Dumas
  • After creating things endowed with life, he created Death, the devourer.

  • It is also called Martiora, which in the Parsian tongue, signifieth a devourer of men.

  • She was the watch-dog, I was the wolf; and she was prepared to do battle to save her lambs from the devourer.

    Dorothy's Double G. A. Henty
  • Gluttony is a prodigal consumer and devourer of the creatures of God.

  • Bibliophage, or bibliophagist, a book-eater, or devourer of books.

    A Book for All Readers Ainsworth Rand Spofford
  • How the devourer would relish the pitch and resin oozing from the juicy bark!

    Unexplored! Allen Chaffee
British Dictionary definitions for devourer


verb (transitive)
to swallow or eat up greedily or voraciously
to waste or destroy; consume: the flames devoured the curtains
to consume greedily or avidly with the senses or mind: he devoured the manuscripts
to engulf or absorb: the flood devoured the land
Derived Forms
devourer, noun
devouring, adjective
devouringly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French devourer, from Latin dēvorāre to gulp down, from de- + vorāre to consume greedily; see voracious
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
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Word Origin and History for devourer



early 14c., from Old French devorer (12c.) "devour, swallow up, engulf," from Latin devorare "swallow down, accept eagerly," from de- "down" (see de-) + vorare "to swallow" (see voracity). Related: Devoured; devouring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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