[pred-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


Zoology. preying upon other organisms for food.
of, relating to, or characterized by plunder, pillage, robbery, or exploitation: predatory tactics.
engaging in or living by these activities: predatory bands of brigands.
excessive or exploitive in amount or cost, as out of greed or to take advantage of consumers or patrons: predatory pricing.
acting with or possessed by overbearing, rapacious, or selfish motives: He was cornered at the party by a predatory reporter.

Origin of predatory

From the Latin word praedātōrius, dating back to 1580–90. See predator, -tory1
Related formspred·a·to·ri·ly, adverbpred·a·to·ri·ness, nounnon·pred·a·to·ri·ly, adverbnon·pred·a·to·ri·lyness, nounnon·pred·a·to·ry, adjectiveun·pred·a·to·ry, adjective

Synonyms for predatory

2, 3. rapacious. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for predatory

Contemporary Examples of predatory

Historical Examples of predatory

  • His courage might have been predatory, for he certainly liked to eat lobster.

  • See here, this creature, imperfect as it is, represents the predatory machine.

    The Ideal

    Stanley Grauman Weinbaum

  • But you can't take a predatory, savage pirate and love him into decency!

    Cubs of the Wolf

    Raymond F. Jones

  • It was the evening before his return to school, and there was a predatory look in his eye.

  • What remembrances does this imply of the hunt, what of the predatory dark?

    The Children

    Alice Meynell

British Dictionary definitions for predatory



zoology another word for predacious (def. 1)
of, involving, or characterized by plundering, robbing, etc
Derived Formspredatorily, adverbpredatoriness, noun

Word Origin for predatory

C16: from Latin praedātōrius rapacious, from praedārī to pillage, from praeda booty
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 predatory

1580s, "involving plundering," from Latin praedatorius "pertaining to plunder," from praedator "plunderer," from praedor "to plunder," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)). Of animals, from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper