• synonyms


[in-sek-tiv-er-uh s]
  1. adapted to feeding on insects.
  2. Botany. having specialized leaves or leaf parts capable of trapping and digesting insects, as the Venus's-flytrap, the pitcher plants, and the sundews.
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Origin of insectivorous

From the New Latin word insectivorus, dating back to 1655–65. See insect, -i-, -vorous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for insectivorous

Historical Examples of insectivorous

  • It is the only insectivorous bird which is largely exported from India.

    Birds of the Indian Hills

    Douglas Dewar

  • There was a liberal abundance, however, in the insectivorous department.

    Due West

    Maturin Murray Ballou

  • For the most part the species are carnivorous or insectivorous.

  • There is good reason to suppose that the host of the fossil was some insectivorous mammal.

    The Flea

    Harold Russell

  • The members of this group are all more or less carnivorous or insectivorous.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for insectivorous


  1. feeding on or adapted for feeding on insectsinsectivorous plants
  2. of or relating to the order Insectivora
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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

insectivorous 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.