[eyt; British et]
See more synonyms for ate on
Can be confusedate eight


[ey-tee, ah-tee]
  1. an ancient Greek goddess personifying the fatal blindness or recklessness that produces crime and the divine punishment that follows it.

Origin of Ate

< Greek, special use of átē reckless impulse, ruin, akin to aáein to mislead, harm


  1. equipment that makes a series of tests automatically.

Origin of ATE

a(utomatic) t(est) e(quipment)


verb (used with object), ate [eyt; especially British et] /eɪt; especially British ɛt/ or (Archaic) eat [et, eet] /ɛt, it/; eat·en or (Archaic) eat [et, eet] /ɛt, it/; eat·ing.
  1. to take into the mouth and swallow for nourishment; chew and swallow (food).
  2. to consume by or as if by devouring gradually; wear away; corrode: The patient was eaten by disease and pain.
  3. to make (a hole, passage, etc.), as by gnawing or corrosion.
  4. to ravage or devastate: a forest eaten by fire.
  5. to use up, especially wastefully; consume (often followed by up): Unexpected expenses have been eating up their savings.
  6. to absorb or pay for: The builder had to eat the cost of the repairs.
  7. Slang: Vulgar. to perform cunnilingus or fellatio on.
verb (used without object), ate [eyt; especially British et] /eɪt; especially British ɛt/ or (Archaic) eat [et, eet] /ɛt, it/; eat·en or (Archaic) eat [et, eet] /ɛt, it/; eat·ing.
  1. to consume food; take a meal: We'll eat at six o'clock.
  2. to make a way, as by gnawing or corrosion: Acid ate through the linoleum.
  1. eats, Informal. food.
Verb Phrases
  1. eat away/into, to destroy gradually, as by erosion: For eons, the pounding waves ate away at the shoreline.
  2. eat out, to have a meal at a restaurant rather than at home.
  3. eat up,
    1. to consume wholly.
    2. to show enthusiasm for; take pleasure in: The audience ate up everything he said.
    3. to believe without question.
  1. be eating (someone), Informal. to worry, annoy, or bother: Something seems to be eating him—he's been wearing a frown all day.
  2. eat crow. crow1(def 7).
  3. eat high off the hog. hog(def 16).
  4. eat humble pie. humble pie(def 3).
  5. eat in, to eat or dine at home.
  6. eat one's heart out. heart(def 26).
  7. eat one's terms. term(def 17).
  8. eat one's words. word(def 16).
  9. eat out of one's hand. hand(def 49).
  10. 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.
  11. eat (someone's) lunch, Slang. to thoroughly defeat, outdo, injure, etc.
  12. 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

before 900; Middle English eten, Old English etan; cognate with German essen, Gothic itan, Latin edere
Related formseat·er, nounout·eat, verb (used with object), out·ate, out·eat·en, out·eat·ing.un·der·eat, verb (used without object), un·der·ate, un·der·eat·en, un·der·eat·ing.


  1. a suffix occurring in loanwords from Latin, its English distribution paralleling that of Latin. The form originated as a suffix added to a-stem verbs to form adjectives (separate). The resulting form could also be used independently as a noun (advocate) and came to be used as a stem on which a verb could be formed (separate; advocate; agitate). In English the use as a verbal suffix has been extended to stems of non-Latin origin: calibrate; acierate.

Origin of -ate

< Latin -ātus (masculine), -āta (feminine), -ātum (neuter), equivalent to -ā- thematic vowel + -tus, -ta, -tum past participle suffix


  1. a specialization of -ate1, used to indicate a salt of an acid ending in -ic, added to a form of the stem of the element or group: nitrate; sulfate.
Compare -ite1.

Origin of -ate

probably originally in New Latin phrases, as plumbum acetātum salt produced by the action of acetic acid on lead


  1. a suffix occurring originally in nouns borrowed from Latin, and in English coinages from Latin bases, that denote offices or functions (consulate; triumvirate; pontificate), as well as institutions or collective bodies (electorate; senate); sometimes extended to denote a person who exercises such a function (magistrate; potentate), an associated place (consulate), or a period of office or rule (protectorate). Joined to stems of any origin, ate3 signifies the office, term of office, or territory of a ruler or official (caliphate; khanate; shogunate).

Origin of -ate

< Latin -ātus (genitive -ātūs), generalized from v. derivatives, as augurātus office of an augur (augurā(re) to foretell by augury + -tus suffix of v. action), construed as derivative of augur augur1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ate

Contemporary Examples of ate

Historical Examples of ate

  • Here he cooked and ate his meals, and here he spent his solitary evenings.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • She did not seem frightened, and ate readily the damper and sugar given her.

  • All that he touched and ate and wore and used was of the same material Absolute.

  • Although he ate little, the dining-room was empty when he finished.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • So K. waited for "the season," and ate his heart out for Sidney in the interval.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for ate


  1. the past tense of eat


  1. Greek myth a goddess who makes men blind so that they will blunder into guilty acts

Word Origin for Ate

C16: via Latin from Greek atē a rash impulse


  1. (forming adjectives) possessing; having the appearance or characteristics offortunate; palmate; Latinate
  2. (forming nouns) a chemical compound, esp a salt or ester of an acidcarbonate; stearate
  3. (forming nouns) the product of a processcondensate
  4. forming verbs from nouns and adjectiveshyphenate; rusticate

Word Origin for -ate

from Latin -ātus, past participial ending of verbs ending in -āre


suffix forming nouns
  1. denoting office, rank, or a group having a certain functionepiscopate; electorate

Word Origin for -ate

from Latin -ātus, suffix (fourth declension) of collective nouns



abbreviation for
  1. Tanzania (international car registration)

Word Origin for EAT

from E(ast) A(frica) T(anganyika) or E(ast) A(frica) Z(anzibar)


verb eats, eating, ate or eaten
  1. to take into the mouth and swallow (food, etc), esp after biting and chewing
  2. (tr; often foll by away or up) to destroy as if by eatingthe damp had eaten away the woodwork
  3. (often foll by into) to use up or wastetaxes ate into his inheritance
  4. (often foll by into or through) to make (a hole, passage, etc) by eating or gnawingrats ate through the floor
  5. to take or have (a meal or meals)we always eat at six
  6. (tr) to include as part of one's diethe doesn't eat fish
  7. (tr) informal to cause to worry; make anxiouswhat's eating you?
  8. (tr) slang to perform cunnilingus or fellatio upon
  9. I'll eat my hat if informal I will be greatly surprised if (something happens that proves me wrong)
  10. eat one's heart out to brood or pine with grief or longing
  11. eat one's words to take back something said; recant; retract
  12. eat out of someone's hand to be entirely obedient to someone
  13. eat someone out of house and home to ruin someone, esp one's parent or one's host, by consuming all his food
See also eat out, eats, eat up
Derived Formseater, noun

Word Origin for eat

Old English etan; related to Gothic itan, Old High German ezzan, Latin edere, Greek edein, Sanskrit admi
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

Word Origin and History for ate

past tense of eat (q.v.).


Greek goddess of infatuation and evil, from ate "infatuation, bane, ruin, mischief," of uncertain origin.



word-forming element used in forming nouns from Latin words ending in -atus, -atum (e.g. estate, primate, senate). Those that came to English via Old and Middle French often arrived with -at, but an -e was added after c.1400 to indicate the long vowel.

The suffix also can mark adjectives, formed from Latin past participals in -atus, -ata (e.g. desolate, moderate, separate), again, they often were adopted in Middle English as -at, with an -e appended after c.1400.



verbal suffix for Latin verbs in -are, identical with -ate (1). Old English commonly made verbs from adjectives by adding a verbal ending to the word (e.g. gnornian "be sad, mourn," gnorn "sad, depressed"), but as the inflections wore off English words in late Old and early Middle English, there came to be no difference between the adjective and the verb in dry, empty, warm, etc. Thus accustomed to the identity of adjectival and verbal forms of a word, the English, when they began to expand their Latin-based vocabulary after c.1500, simply made verbs from Latin past-participial adjectives without changing their form (e.g. aggravate, substantiate) and it became the custom that Latin verbs were anglicized from their past participle stems.



in chemistry, word-forming element used to form the names of salts from acids in -ic; from Latin -atus, -atum, suffix used in forming adjectives and thence nouns; identical with -ate (1).

The substance formed, for example, by the action of acetic acid (vinegar) on lead was described in the 18th century as plumbum acetatum, i.e. acetated lead. Acetatum was then taken as a noun meaning "the acetated (product)," i.e. acetate. [W.E. Flood, "The Origins of Chemical Names," London, 1963]



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ate in Medicine


  1. A derivative of a specified chemical compound or element:aluminate.
  2. A salt or ester of a specified acid whose name ends in -ic:acetate.


  1. To take into the body by the mouth for digestion or absorption.
  2. To consume, ravage, or destroy by or as if by ingesting, such as by a disease.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

ate in Science


  1. A suffix used to form the name of a salt or ester of an acid whose name ends in -ic, such as acetate, a salt or ester of acetic acid. Such salts or esters have one oxygen atom more than corresponding salts or esters with names ending in -ite. For example, a sulfate is a salt of sulfuric acid and contains the group SO4, while a sulfite contains SO3. Compare -ite.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with ate


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

also see:

  • dog eat dog
  • proof of the pudding is in the eating
  • what's eating you
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.