[ kan-uh-buh-liz-uhm ]
See synonyms for: cannibalistic on

  1. the eating of human flesh by another human being.

  2. the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of its own kind.

  1. the ceremonial eating of human flesh or parts of the human body for magical or religious purposes, as to acquire the power or skill of a person recently killed.

  2. the act of pecking flesh from a live fowl by a member of the same flock.

  3. the removal of parts, equipment, assets, or employees from one product, item, or business in order to use them in another.

  4. the acquisition and absorption of smaller companies by a large corporation or conglomerate.

Origin of cannibalism

First recorded in 1790–1800; cannibal + -ism

Other words from cannibalism

  • can·ni·bal·is·tic, adjective
  • can·ni·bal·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb
  • non·can·ni·bal·is·tic, adjective
  • non·can·ni·bal·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby cannibalism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cannibalism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cannibalism


/ (ˈkænɪbəˌlɪzəm) /

  1. the act of eating human flesh or the flesh of one's own kind

  2. savage and inhuman cruelty

Derived forms of cannibalism

  • cannibalistic, adjective
  • cannibalistically, adverb

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