an animal hunted or seized for food, especially by a carnivorous animal.
a person or thing that is the victim of an enemy, a swindler, a disease, etc: a con man looking for his next prey.
the action or habit of preying: a beast of prey.
Archaic. booty or plunder.
to seize and devour prey, as an animal does (usually followed by on or upon): Foxes prey on rabbits.
to make raids or attacks for booty or plunder: The Vikings preyed on coastal settlements.
to exert a harmful or destructive influence: His worries preyed upon his mind.
to victimize another or others (usually followed by on or upon): loan sharks that prey upon poor people.
Idioms about prey
fall prey (to), to be victimized, harmed, or killed: chickens that fell prey to a hawk;fall prey to internet scams.
- preyer, noun
- un·prey·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use prey in a sentence
In this case, unlike the scenario of not being eaten, your hope is the bike thief will move on to easier prey.
Many barges were stuck at sea and became easy prey for pirates.
This is the longest known prey of a marine reptile from the dinosaur age, and may be the oldest direct evidence of a marine reptile eating an animal larger than a human, researchers report August 20 in iScience.This ichthyosaur died after devouring a creature nearly as long as itself | Maria Temming | August 20, 2020 | Science News
Bigger dingoes can hunt bigger prey, notes Letnic, which could have unknown impacts on Australian ecosystems.Culling dingoes with poison may be making them bigger | Jake Buehler | August 19, 2020 | Science News
The new cytosine-converting enzyme, however, was as lethal to mammalian cells as it was to bacterial prey.A bacterial toxin enables the first mitochondrial gene editor | Jack J. Lee | July 13, 2020 | Science News
And they prey on those that society will be least likely to believe.
As he relishes his triumph, a larger, grinning version of the man materializes in the background, eyeing his prey.‘Interstellar’ Is Wildly Ambitious, Very Flawed, and Absolutely Worth Seeing | Marlow Stern | November 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
When it comes to protecting birds of prey, Illinois state law can be an ass.
Yes, Levine plays the role of a stalker and Prinsloo that of his “prey,” but she never comes across as a victim.Sex, Blood and Maroon 5: Pop Culture’s Wounds Run Deep | Lizzie Crocker | October 3, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The trucking roads make it easier for predators to wipe out prey.
When a hungry lion is watching for prey, the sight of any animal will make him commence stalking it.Hunting the Lions | R.M. Ballantyne
He usually seizes his prey by the flank near the hind leg, or by the throat below the jaw.Hunting the Lions | R.M. Ballantyne
Now it seemed to crouch as though ready to spring, and I could hear the savage growling as of some beast of prey.Uncanny Tales | Various
They appeared and vanished about the corners of the Islands and promontories like birds swooping after prey.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
It was monstrous that this English damask rose should fall a prey to so detestable a person as the Comte de Lussigny.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol | William J. Locke
British Dictionary definitions for prey
an animal hunted or captured by another for food
a person or thing that becomes the victim of a hostile person, influence, etc
beast of prey an animal that preys on others for food
bird of prey a bird that preys on others for food
an archaic word for booty 1
to hunt or seize food by killing other animals
to make a victim (of others), as by profiting at their expense
to exert a depressing or obsessive effect (on the mind, spirits, etc); weigh heavily (upon)
- preyer, noun
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