Origin of carnivorous

1640–50; < Latin carnivorus, equivalent to carni- (combining form of carō flesh) + -vorus -vorous
Related formscar·niv·o·rism, nouncar·niv·o·rous·ly, adverbcar·niv·o·rous·ness, nounnon·car·niv·o·rous, adjectivenon·car·niv·o·rous·ly, adverbnon·car·niv·o·rous·ness, nounun·car·niv·o·rous, adjectiveun·car·niv·o·rous·ly, adverbun·car·niv·o·rous·ness, noun
Can be confusedcarnivorous herbivorous omnivorous

Synonyms for carnivorous

1. meat-eating, predatory, predacious. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for carnivorism


  1. (esp of animals) feeding on flesh
  2. (of plants such as the pitcher plant and sundew) able to trap and digest insects and other small animals
  3. of or relating to the Carnivora
  4. informal aggressively ambitious or reactionary
Derived Formscarnivorously, adverbcarnivorousness, noun

Word Origin for carnivorous

C17: from Latin carnivorus, from carō flesh + vorāre to consume
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 carnivorism



1640s, from Latin carnivorus "flesh-eating, feeding on flesh," from caro (genitive carnis) "flesh" (see carnage) + vorare "to devour" (see voracity).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper