[ kan-uh-buh l ]
/ ˈkæn ə bəl /


a person who eats human flesh, especially for magical or religious purposes, as among certain tribal peoples.
any animal that eats its own kind.


pertaining to or characteristic of a cannibal.
given to cannibalism.

Origin of cannibal

1545–55; < Spanish caníbal, variant of caríbal, equivalent to canib-, carib- (< Arawak) + -al -al1; from the belief that the Caribs of the West Indies ate human flesh

Related forms

can·ni·bal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cannibal

British Dictionary definitions for cannibal


/ (ˈkænɪbəl) /


  1. a person who eats the flesh of other human beings
  2. (as modifier)cannibal tribes
an animal that feeds on the flesh of others of its kind

Word Origin for cannibal

C16: from Spanish Canibales, name used by Columbus to designate the Caribs of Cuba and Haiti, from Arawak caniba, variant of Carib
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