[ kahr-nuh-vawr ]
/ ˈkɑr nəˌvɔr /
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any mammal of the order Carnivora that eats meat, fish, or other flesh, especially as its primary source of food: a category of mammals that includes dogs, cats, bears, seals, and weasels.Compare carnivoran (def. 1).
any animal that eats meat, fish, etc., especially as its primary source of food; meat-eater: alligators, snakes, and other reptilian carnivores.
any plant that traps and feeds on insects and/or arachnids, such as a Venus flytrap.
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Origin of carnivore

First recorded in 1850–55; from French, from Latin carnivorus carnivorous


car·niv·o·ral [kahr-niv-er-uhl], /kɑrˈnɪv ər əl/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use carnivore in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for carnivore

/ (ˈkɑːnɪˌvɔː) /

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
any other animal or any plant that feeds on animals
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

Scientific definitions for carnivore

[ kärnə-vôr′ ]

  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.
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.

Cultural definitions for carnivore

[ (kahr-nuh-vawr) ]

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.