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verb (used with object), fed, feed·ing.
  1. to give food to; supply with nourishment: to feed a child.
  2. to yield or serve as food for: This land has fed 10 generations.
  3. to provide as food.
  4. to furnish for consumption.
  5. to satisfy; minister to; gratify: Poetry feeds the imagination.
  6. to supply for maintenance or operation, as to a machine: to feed paper into a photocopier.
  7. to provide with the necessary materials for development, maintenance, or operation: to feed a printing press with paper.
  8. to use (land) as pasture.
  9. Theater Informal.
    1. to supply (an actor, especially a comedian) with lines or action, the responses to which are expected to elicit laughter.
    2. to provide cues to (an actor).
    3. Chiefly British.to prompt: Stand in the wings and feed them their lines.
  10. Radio and Television. to distribute (a local broadcast) via satellite or network.
verb (used without object), fed, feed·ing.
  1. (especially of animals) to take food; eat: cows feeding in a meadow; to feed well.
  2. to be nourished or gratified; subsist: to feed on grass; to feed on thoughts of revenge.
  1. food, especially for farm animals, as cattle, horses or chickens.
  2. an allowance, portion, or supply of such food.
  3. Informal. a meal, especially a lavish one.
  4. the act of feeding.
  5. the act or process of feeding a furnace, machine, etc.
  6. the material, or the amount of it, so fed or supplied.
  7. a feeding mechanism.
  8. Electricity. feeder(def 10).
  9. Theater Informal.
    1. a line spoken by one actor, the response to which by another actor is expected to cause laughter.
    2. an actor, especially a straight man, who provides such lines.
  10. a local television broadcast distributed by satellite or network to a much wider audience, especially nationwide or international.
  11. Digital Technology.
    1. a website or application that publishes updates from social media or news-collection websites in reverse chronological order: I follow all of the latest celebrity gossip in my Twitter feed.
    2. an XML-based web document that is updated automatically at predetermined intervals and includes descriptive titles or short descriptions and links to recent pages on a website: Subscribe to news feeds to get the latest news from around the world.
  1. chain feed, to pass (work) successively into a machine in such a manner that each new piece is held in place by or connected to the one before.
  2. off one's feed, Slang.
    1. reluctant to eat; without appetite.
    2. dejected; sad.
    3. not well; ill.

Origin of feed

before 950; Middle English feden, Old English fēdan; cognate with Gothic fodjan, Old Saxon fōdian. See food
Related formsfeed·a·ble, adjectiveout·feed, verb (used with object), out·fed, out·feed·ing.re·feed, verb, re·fed, re·feed·ing.un·feed·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for feed

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Synonym study

13. Feed, fodder, forage, provender mean food for animals. Feed is the general word: pig feed; chicken feed. Fodder is especially applied to dry or green feed, as opposed to pasturage, fed to horses, cattle, etc.: fodder for winter feeding; Cornstalks are good fodder. Forage is food that an animal obtains (usually grass, leaves, etc.) by searching about for it: Lost cattle can usually live on forage. Provender denotes dry feed, such as hay, oats, or corn: a supply of provender in the haymow and corn cribs.

Antonyms for feed

1, 2. starve.


  1. a charge or payment for professional services: a doctor's fee.
  2. a sum paid or charged for a privilege: an admission fee.
  3. a charge allowed by law for the service of a public officer.
  4. Law.
    1. an estate of inheritance in land, either absolute and without limitation to any particular class of heirs(fee simple) or limited to a particular class of heirs (fee tail).
    2. an inheritable estate in land held of a feudal lord on condition of the performing of certain services.
    3. a territory held in fee.
  5. a gratuity; tip.
verb (used with object), feed, fee·ing.
  1. to give a fee to.
  2. Chiefly Scot. to hire; employ.

Origin of fee

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French; Old French fie, variant of fief fief. See feudal
Related formsfee·less, adjectiveo·ver·fee, nounsu·per·fee, noun

Synonyms for fee

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for feed

Contemporary Examples of feed

Historical Examples of feed

British Dictionary definitions for feed


verb feeds, feeding or fed (fɛd) (mainly tr)
  1. to give food toto feed the cat
  2. to give as foodto feed meat to the cat
  3. (intr) to eat foodthe horses feed at noon
  4. to provide food forthese supplies can feed 10 million people
  5. to provide what is necessary for the existence or development ofto feed one's imagination
  6. to gratify; satisfyto feed one's eyes on a beautiful sight
  7. (also intr) to supply (a machine, furnace, etc) with (the necessary materials or fuel) for its operation, or (of such materials) to flow or move forwards into a machine, etc
  8. to use (land) as grazing
  9. theatre informal to cue (an actor, esp a comedian) with lines or actions
  10. sport to pass a ball to (a team-mate)
  11. electronics to introduce (electrical energy) into a circuit, esp by means of a feeder
  12. (also intr; foll by on or upon) to eat or cause to eat
  1. the act or an instance of feeding
  2. food, esp that of animals or babies
  3. the process of supplying a machine or furnace with a material or fuel
  4. the quantity of material or fuel so supplied
  5. computing a facility allowing web users to receive news headlines and updates on their browser from a website as soon as they are published
  6. the rate of advance of a cutting tool in a lathe, drill, etc
  7. a mechanism that supplies material or fuel or controls the rate of advance of a cutting tool
  8. theatre informal a performer, esp a straight man, who provides cues
  9. informal a meal
Derived Formsfeedable, adjective

Word Origin for feed

Old English fēdan; related to Old Norse fœtha to feed, Old High German fuotan, Gothic fōthjan; see food, fodder


  1. a payment asked by professional people or public servants for their servicesa doctor's fee; school fees
  2. a charge made for a privilegean entrance fee
  3. property law
    1. an interest in land capable of being inheritedSee fee simple, fee tail
    2. the land held in fee
  4. (in feudal Europe) the land granted by a lord to his vassal
  5. an obsolete word for a gratuity
  6. in fee
    1. law(of land) in absolute ownership
    2. archaicin complete subjection
verb fees, feeing or feed
  1. rare to give a fee to
  2. mainly Scot to hire for a fee
Derived Formsfeeless, adjective

Word Origin for fee

C14: from Old French fie, of Germanic origin; see fief
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 feed

Old English fedan "nourish, feed, sustain, foster," from Proto-Germanic *fodjan (cf. Old Saxon fodjan, Old Frisian feda, Dutch voeden, Old High German fuotan, Old Norse foeða, Gothic fodjan "to feed"), from PIE *pa- "to protect, feed" (see food). Feeding frenzy is from 1989, metaphoric extension of a phrase that had been used of sharks since 1950s.


"action of feeding," 1570s, from feed (v.). Meaning "food for animals" is first attested 1580s. Of machinery, from 1892.



late 13c., from Old French fieu, fief "fief, possession, holding, domain; feudal duties, payment," from Medieval Latin feodum "land or other property whose use is granted in return for service," widely said to be from Frankish *fehu-od "payment-estate," or a similar Germanic compound, in which the first element is cognate with Old English feoh "money, movable property, cattle" (also German Vieh "cattle," Gothic faihu "money, fortune"), from PIE *peku- "cattle" (cf. Sanskrit pasu, Lithuanian pekus "cattle;" Latin pecu "cattle," pecunia "money, property"); second element similar to Old English ead "wealth."

OED rejects this, and suggests a simple adaptation of Germanic fehu, leaving the Medieval Latin -d- unexplained. Sense of "payment for services" first recorded late 14c. Fee-simple is "absolute ownership," as opposed to fee-tail "entailed ownership," inheritance limited to some particular class of heirs (second element from Old French taillir "to cut, to limit").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with feed


In addition to the idioms beginning with feed

  • feed one's face
  • feed someone a line
  • feed the kitty

also see:

  • bite the hand that feeds you
  • chicken feed
  • off one's feed
  • put on the feed bag
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.