be eating (someone), Informal. to worry, annoy, or bother: Something seems to be eating him—he's been wearing a frown all day.
    eat crow. crow1(def 7).
    eat high off the hog. hog(def 16).
    eat humble pie. humble pie(def 3).
    eat in, to eat or dine at home.
    eat one's heart out. heart(def 26).
    eat one's terms. term(def 17).
    eat one's words. word(def 16).
    eat out of one's hand. hand(def 49).
    eat (someone) out of house and home, to eat so much as to strain someone's resources of food or money: A group of hungry teenagers can eat you out of house and home.
    eat (someone's) lunch, Slang. to thoroughly defeat, outdo, injure, etc.
    eat the wind out of, Nautical. to blanket (a sailing vessel sailing close-hauled) by sailing close on the weather side of.

Origin of eat

before 900; Middle English eten, Old English etan; cognate with German essen, Gothic itan, Latin edere
Related formseat·er, nounout·eat, verb (used with object), out·ate, out·eat·en, out·eat·ing.un·der·eat, verb (used without object), un·der·ate, un·der·eat·en, un·der·eat·ing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for eat up

swallow, buy

British Dictionary definitions for eat up

eat up

verb (adverb, mainly tr)

(also intr) to eat or consume entirely: often used as an exhortation to children
informal to listen to with enthusiasm or appreciationthe audience ate up the speaker's every word
(often passive) informal to affect grosslyshe was eaten up by jealousy
informal to travel (a distance) quicklywe just ate up the miles



abbreviation for

Tanzania (international car registration)

Word Origin for EAT

from E(ast) A(frica) T(anganyika) or E(ast) A(frica) Z(anzibar)


verb eats, eating, ate or eaten

to take into the mouth and swallow (food, etc), esp after biting and chewing
(tr; often foll by away or up) to destroy as if by eatingthe damp had eaten away the woodwork
(often foll by into) to use up or wastetaxes ate into his inheritance
(often foll by into or through) to make (a hole, passage, etc) by eating or gnawingrats ate through the floor
to take or have (a meal or meals)we always eat at six
(tr) to include as part of one's diethe doesn't eat fish
(tr) informal to cause to worry; make anxiouswhat's eating you?
(tr) slang to perform cunnilingus or fellatio upon
I'll eat my hat if informal I will be greatly surprised if (something happens that proves me wrong)
eat one's heart out to brood or pine with grief or longing
eat one's words to take back something said; recant; retract
eat out of someone's hand to be entirely obedient to someone
eat someone out of house and home to ruin someone, esp one's parent or one's host, by consuming all his food
See also eat out, eats, eat up
Derived Formseater, noun

Word Origin for eat

Old English etan; related to Gothic itan, Old High German ezzan, Latin edere, Greek edein, Sanskrit admi
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 eat up



Old English etan (class V strong verb; past tense æt, past participle eten) "to eat, devour, consume," from Proto-Germanic *etanan (cf. Old Frisian ita, Old Saxon etan, Middle Dutch eten, Dutch eten, Old High German ezzan, German essen, Old Norse eta, Gothic itan), from PIE root *ed- "to eat" (see edible).

Transferred sense of "slow, gradual corrosion or destruction" is from 1550s. Meaning "to preoccupy, engross" (as in what's eating you?) first recorded 1893. Slang sexual sense of "do cunnilingus on" is first recorded 1927. Eat out "dine away from home" is from 1933. The slang phrase to eat one's words is from 1570s; to eat one's heart out is from 1590s; for eat one's hat, see hat.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

eat up in Medicine




To take into the body by the mouth for digestion or absorption.
To consume, ravage, or destroy by or as if by ingesting, such as by a disease.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with eat up

eat up


Consume completely, as in No television until you eat up your dinner, or This quarter's expenses have eaten up all my spare cash. The literal use (first example) dates from the early 1500s, the figurative from the early 1600s.


Enjoy avidly, as in She simply eats up the publicity. [Late 1800s]


Believe unquestioningly, be gullible, as in He'll eat up whatever the broker tells him. [Slang; early 1900s]


Defeat completely, as in This new fighter just eats up every opponent. [Slang; c. 1830]


See eat out, def. 2.


In addition to the idioms beginning with eat

  • eat and run
  • eat away at
  • eat crow
  • eat high off the hog
  • eat in
  • eat like a bird
  • eat one's cake and have it, too
  • eat one's hat
  • eat one's heart out
  • eat one's words
  • eat out
  • eat out of someone's hand
  • eat shit
  • eat someone alive
  • eat someone out
  • eat someone out of house and home
  • eat someone's ass out
  • eat someone's lunch
  • eat someone up
  • eat up

also see:

  • dog eat dog
  • proof of the pudding is in the eating
  • what's eating you
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.