[kahr-nuh-vawr, -vohr]
See more synonyms for carnivore on
  1. an animal that eats flesh.
  2. a flesh-eating mammal of the order Carnivora, comprising the dogs, cats, bears, seals, and weasels.
  3. an insectivorous plant.

Origin of carnivore

1850–55; < Latin carnivorus carnivorous
Related formscar·niv·o·ral [kahr-niv-er-uh l] /kɑrˈnɪv ər əl/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for carnivore

cougar, leopard, cub, lynx, carnivore, feline, cat, jaguar

Examples from the Web for carnivore

Contemporary Examples of carnivore

  • In Area D the child's right foot bones were discovered with "carnivore damage."

    The Daily Beast logo
    Did They Get Her?

    Diane Dimond

    June 15, 2011

Historical Examples of carnivore

British Dictionary definitions for carnivore


  1. any placental mammal of the order Carnivora, typically having large pointed canine teeth and sharp molars and premolars, specialized for eating flesh. The order includes cats, dogs, bears, raccoons, hyenas, civets, and weasels
  2. any other animal or any plant that feeds on animals
  3. informal an aggressively ambitious person

Word Origin for carnivore

C19: probably back formation from carnivorous
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 carnivore

"flesh-eating animal," 1839, from French carnivore (16c.), from Latin carnivorus "flesh-eating" (see carnivorous).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

carnivore in Science


    1. An animal that feeds chiefly on the flesh of other animals. Carnivores include predators such as lions and alligators, and scavengers such as hyenas and vultures. In a food chain, carnivores are either secondary or tertiary consumers. Compare detritivore herbivore.
    2. Any of various generally meat-eating mammals of the order Carnivora. Carnivores have large, sharp canine teeth and large brains, and the musculoskeletal structure of their forelimbs permits great flexibility for springing at prey. Many carnivores remain in and defend a single territory. Dogs, cats, bears, weasels, raccoons, hyenas, and (according to some classifications) seals and walruses are all carnivores.
  1. A plant that eats insects, such as a Venus flytrap.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

carnivore in Culture



A living thing that eats meat. Among mammals, there is an order of carnivores, including primarily meat-eating animals such as tigers and dogs. Some plants, such as the Venus's-flytrap, are carnivores.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.