a past participle of eat.

Related formshalf-eat·en, adjectiveun·eat·en, adjective



verb (used with object), ate [eyt; especially British et] /eɪt; especially British ɛt/ or (Archaic) eat [et, eet] /ɛt, it/; eat·en or (Archaic) eat [et, eet] /ɛt, it/; eat·ing.

to take into the mouth and swallow for nourishment; chew and swallow (food).
to consume by or as if by devouring gradually; wear away; corrode: The patient was eaten by disease and pain.
to make (a hole, passage, etc.), as by gnawing or corrosion.
to ravage or devastate: a forest eaten by fire.
to use up, especially wastefully; consume (often followed by up): Unexpected expenses have been eating up their savings.
to absorb or pay for: The builder had to eat the cost of the repairs.
Slang: Vulgar. to perform cunnilingus or fellatio on.

verb (used without object), ate [eyt; especially British et] /eɪt; especially British ɛt/ or (Archaic) eat [et, eet] /ɛt, it/; eat·en or (Archaic) eat [et, eet] /ɛt, it/; eat·ing.

to consume food; take a meal: We'll eat at six o'clock.
to make a way, as by gnawing or corrosion: Acid ate through the linoleum.


eats, Informal. food.

Verb Phrases

eat away/into, to destroy gradually, as by erosion: For eons, the pounding waves ate away at the shoreline.
eat out, to have a meal at a restaurant rather than at home.
eat up,
  1. to consume wholly.
  2. to show enthusiasm for; take pleasure in: The audience ate up everything he said.
  3. to believe without question.


    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

Examples from the Web for eaten

Contemporary Examples of eaten

Historical Examples of eaten

  • "Halbert, you have eaten scarcely anything," said his mother.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • When he had eaten, he sat with his coffee for a final smoke of deliberation.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I have eaten so many fish that it were but justice that the fish should eat me.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Grace had eaten little and drunk nothing; but Howe was slightly stimulated.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "Come, dearest sister; you have eaten not a morsel to-day," she said.

    The Wives of The Dead

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for eaten



the past participle of eat



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 eaten

Old English eten, past participle of eat.



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

eaten 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 eaten


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.