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[pred-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈprɛd əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
Zoology. preying upon other organisms for food.
of, relating to, or characterized by plunder, pillage, robbery, or exploitation:
predatory tactics.
engaging in or living by these activities:
predatory bands of brigands.
excessive or exploitive in amount or cost, as out of greed or to take advantage of consumers or patrons:
predatory pricing.
acting with or possessed by overbearing, rapacious, or selfish motives:
He was cornered at the party by a predatory reporter.
Origin of predatory
From the Latin word praedātōrius, dating back to 1580-90. See predator, -tory1
Related forms
predatorily, adverb
predatoriness, noun
nonpredatorily, adverb
nonpredatorilyness, noun
nonpredatory, adjective
unpredatory, adjective
2, 3. rapacious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for predatory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His courage might have been predatory, for he certainly liked to eat lobster.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • See here, this creature, imperfect as it is, represents the predatory machine.

    The Ideal Stanley Grauman Weinbaum
  • But you can't take a predatory, savage pirate and love him into decency!

    Cubs of the Wolf Raymond F. Jones
  • It was the evening before his return to school, and there was a predatory look in his eye.

    The Right Stuff Ian Hay
  • What remembrances does this imply of the hunt, what of the predatory dark?

    The Children Alice Meynell
British Dictionary definitions for predatory


/ˈprɛdətərɪ; -trɪ/
(zoology) another word for predacious (sense 1)
of, involving, or characterized by plundering, robbing, etc
Derived Forms
predatorily, adverb
predatoriness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praedātōrius rapacious, from praedārī to pillage, from praeda booty
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 predatory

1580s, "involving plundering," from Latin praedatorius "pertaining to plunder," from praedator "plunderer," from praedor "to plunder," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)). Of animals, from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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