the act of a person or thing that feeds.
an instance of eating or of taking or being given nourishment.
grazing land.

Nearby words

  1. feeder,
  2. feeder line,
  3. feeder road,
  4. feedgrain,
  5. feedhorn,
  6. feeding bottle,
  7. feeding cup,
  8. feeding frenzy,
  9. feeding tube,
  10. feedlot

Origin of feeding

before 900; Middle English feding, Old English fēding. See feed, -ing1

Related formsnon·feed·ing, adjectiveun·feed·ing, adjective



verb (used with object), fed, feed·ing.

to give food to; supply with nourishment: to feed a child.
to yield or serve as food for: This land has fed 10 generations.
to provide as food.
to furnish for consumption.
to satisfy; minister to; gratify: Poetry feeds the imagination.
to supply for maintenance or operation, as to a machine: to feed paper into a photocopier.
to provide with the necessary materials for development, maintenance, or operation: to feed a printing press with paper.
to use (land) as pasture.
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.
Radio and Television. to distribute (a local broadcast) via satellite or network.

verb (used without object), fed, feed·ing.

(especially of animals) to take food; eat: cows feeding in a meadow; to feed well.
to be nourished or gratified; subsist: to feed on grass; to feed on thoughts of revenge.


food, especially for farm animals, as cattle, horses or chickens.
an allowance, portion, or supply of such food.
Informal. a meal, especially a lavish one.
the act of feeding.
the act or process of feeding a furnace, machine, etc.
the material, or the amount of it, so fed or supplied.
a feeding mechanism.
Electricity. feeder(def 10).
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.
a local television broadcast distributed by satellite or network to a much wider audience, especially nationwide or international.
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.

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

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.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for feeding

British Dictionary definitions for feeding


verb feeds, feeding or fed (fɛd) (mainly tr)

to give food toto feed the cat
to give as foodto feed meat to the cat
(intr) to eat foodthe horses feed at noon
to provide food forthese supplies can feed 10 million people
to provide what is necessary for the existence or development ofto feed one's imagination
to gratify; satisfyto feed one's eyes on a beautiful sight
(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
to use (land) as grazing
theatre informal to cue (an actor, esp a comedian) with lines or actions
sport to pass a ball to (a team-mate)
electronics to introduce (electrical energy) into a circuit, esp by means of a feeder
(also intr; foll by on or upon) to eat or cause to eat


the act or an instance of feeding
food, esp that of animals or babies
the process of supplying a machine or furnace with a material or fuel
the quantity of material or fuel so supplied
computing a facility allowing web users to receive news headlines and updates on their browser from a website as soon as they are published
the rate of advance of a cutting tool in a lathe, drill, etc
a mechanism that supplies material or fuel or controls the rate of advance of a cutting tool
theatre informal a performer, esp a straight man, who provides cues
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

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 feeding
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with feeding


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.