an animal, especially a tiger or lion, that eats or is said to eat human flesh.
a cannibal.
Slang. femme fatale.

Origin of man-eater

First recorded in 1590–1600 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for man-eater

Historical Examples of man-eater

  • And thus the man-eater was shut in with the three sleeping men.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin

  • No more than our old war dog Deber-Trud the man-eater did I drop my prey.

  • She was not a man-eater, perhaps, but she was nearly romance-mad.

    Prudence Says So

    Ethel Hueston

  • "I'll bet that tiger isn't as great a man-eater as old Witham," he said.

    The Rival Campers Ashore

    Ruel Perley Smith

  • You might interest a man-eater by initiating him, but would you destroy his appetite?

    At Good Old Siwash

    George Fitch

British Dictionary definitions for man-eater



an animal, such as a tiger, that has become accustomed to eating human flesh
any of various sharks that feed on human flesh, esp the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
a human cannibal
informal a woman with many lovers
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 man-eater

also maneater, c.1600, "cannibal," from man (n.) + eater (see eat). From 1837 in reference to animals (sharks); 1862 of tigers; 1906 of women. Related: Man-eating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper