- to take into the mouth and swallow for nourishment; chew and swallow (food).
- to consume by or as if by devouring gradually; wear away; corrode: The patient was eaten by disease and pain.
- to make (a hole, passage, etc.), as by gnawing or corrosion.
- to ravage or devastate: a forest eaten by fire.
- to use up, especially wastefully; consume (often followed by up): Unexpected expenses have been eating up their savings.
- to absorb or pay for: The builder had to eat the cost of the repairs.
- Slang: Vulgar. to perform cunnilingus or fellatio on.
- to consume food; take a meal: We'll eat at six o'clock.
- to make a way, as by gnawing or corrosion: Acid ate through the linoleum.
- eats, Informal. food.
- eat away/into, to destroy gradually, as by erosion: For eons, the pounding waves ate away at the shoreline.
- eat out, to have a meal at a restaurant rather than at home.
- eat up,
- to consume wholly.
- to show enthusiasm for; take pleasure in: The audience ate up everything he said.
- to believe without question.
- be eating (someone), Informal. to worry, annoy, or bother: Something seems to be eating him—he's been wearing a frown all day.
- eat crow. crow1(def 7).
- eat high off the hog. hog(def 16).
- eat humble pie. humble pie(def 3).
- eat in, to eat or dine at home.
- eat one's heart out. heart(def 26).
- eat one's terms. term(def 17).
- eat one's words. word(def 16).
- eat out of one's hand. hand(def 49).
- eat (someone) out of house and home, to eat so much as to strain someone's resources of food or money: A group of hungry teenagers can eat you out of house and home.
- eat (someone's) lunch, Slang. to thoroughly defeat, outdo, injure, etc.
- eat the wind out of, Nautical. to blanket (a sailing vessel sailing close-hauled) by sailing close on the weather side of.
Origin of eat
- (also intr) to eat or consume entirely: often used as an exhortation to children
- informal to listen to with enthusiasm or appreciationthe audience ate up the speaker's every word
- (often passive) informal to affect grosslyshe was eaten up by jealousy
- informal to travel (a distance) quicklywe just ate up the miles
- Tanzania (international car registration)
- to take into the mouth and swallow (food, etc), esp after biting and chewing
- (tr; often foll by away or up) to destroy as if by eatingthe damp had eaten away the woodwork
- (often foll by into) to use up or wastetaxes ate into his inheritance
- (often foll by into or through) to make (a hole, passage, etc) by eating or gnawingrats ate through the floor
- to take or have (a meal or meals)we always eat at six
- (tr) to include as part of one's diethe doesn't eat fish
- (tr) informal to cause to worry; make anxiouswhat's eating you?
- (tr) slang to perform cunnilingus or fellatio upon
- I'll eat my hat if informal I will be greatly surprised if (something happens that proves me wrong)
- eat one's heart out to brood or pine with grief or longing
- eat one's words to take back something said; recant; retract
- eat out of someone's hand to be entirely obedient to someone
- eat someone out of house and home to ruin someone, esp one's parent or one's host, by consuming all his food
Word Origin and History for eat up
Old English etan (class V strong verb; past tense æt, past participle eten) "to eat, devour, consume," from Proto-Germanic *etanan (cf. Old Frisian ita, Old Saxon etan, Middle Dutch eten, Dutch eten, Old High German ezzan, German essen, Old Norse eta, Gothic itan), from PIE root *ed- "to eat" (see edible).
Transferred sense of "slow, gradual corrosion or destruction" is from 1550s. Meaning "to preoccupy, engross" (as in what's eating you?) first recorded 1893. Slang sexual sense of "do cunnilingus on" is first recorded 1927. Eat out "dine away from home" is from 1933. The slang phrase to eat one's words is from 1570s; to eat one's heart out is from 1590s; for eat one's hat, see hat.
- To take into the body by the mouth for digestion or absorption.
- To consume, ravage, or destroy by or as if by ingesting, such as by a disease.
Idioms and Phrases with eat up
Consume completely, as in No television until you eat up your dinner, or This quarter's expenses have eaten up all my spare cash. The literal use (first example) dates from the early 1500s, the figurative from the early 1600s.
Enjoy avidly, as in She simply eats up the publicity. [Late 1800s]
Believe unquestioningly, be gullible, as in He'll eat up whatever the broker tells him. [Slang; early 1900s]
Defeat completely, as in This new fighter just eats up every opponent. [Slang; c. 1830]
See eat out, def. 2.
In addition to the idioms beginning with eat
- eat and run
- eat away at
- eat crow
- eat high off the hog
- eat in
- eat like a bird
- eat one's cake and have it, too
- eat one's hat
- eat one's heart out
- eat one's words
- eat out
- eat out of someone's hand
- eat shit
- eat someone alive
- eat someone out
- eat someone out of house and home
- eat someone's ass out
- eat someone's lunch
- eat someone up
- eat up