• synonyms


[in-sek-tuh-vawr, -vohr]
  1. an insectivorous animal or plant.
  2. any mammal of the order Insectivora, comprising the moles, shrews, and Old World hedgehogs.
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Origin of insectivore

1860–65; back formation from insectivorous; see -vore
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for insectivore

Historical Examples of insectivore

  • Indeed, one insectivore of the genus Sorex (the shrew-mouse genus) is the absolutely smallest mammal which is known to exist.

    The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879


British Dictionary definitions for insectivore


  1. any placental mammal of the order Insectivora, being typically small, with simple teeth, and feeding on invertebrates. The group includes shrews, moles, and hedgehogs
  2. any animal or plant that derives nourishment from insects
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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 insectivore


1863, from French insectivore (1817), from Latin insectivorus, from comb. form of insectum (see insect) + vorare "devour, swallow" (see voracity).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

insectivore in Science


  1. An animal or plant that feeds mainly on insects.
  2. Any of various small, usually nocturnal mammals of the order Insectivora that feed on insects and other invertebrates. Insectivores have long snouts and resemble rodents, but lack gnawing incisors. Moles, shrews, hedgehogs, and tenrecs are insectivores.
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Related formsinsectivorous adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.