prey

[prey]
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noun

verb (used without object)


Origin of prey

1200–50; Middle English preye < Old French < Latin praeda booty, prey; akin to prehendere to grasp, seize (see prehension)
Related formsprey·er, nounun·prey·ing, adjective
Can be confusedpray prayer prey

Synonyms for prey

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for preying

Contemporary Examples of preying

Historical Examples of preying

  • And this idea of restraint was preying upon him, and he could not throw it off.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • He noticed that some secret grief was preying upon the Prince's mind.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • He compelled Algiers to prevent her pirates from preying upon our commerce.

    The Nation in a Nutshell

    George Makepeace Towle

  • The whining dogs are preying upon your simpleness, mistress Israel.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • Predaceous: applied to insects that live by preying upon other organisms.


British Dictionary definitions for preying

prey

noun

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

verb (intr; often foll by on or upon)

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)
Derived Formspreyer, noun

Word Origin for prey

C13: from Old French preie, from Latin praeda booty; see predatory
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 preying

prey

n.

mid-13c., "animal hunted for food," also "that which is taken in war," from Old French preie "booty, animal taken in the chase" (mid-12c., Modern French proie), from Latin praeda "booty, plunder, game hunted," earlier praeheda, related to prehendere "to grasp, seize" (see prehensile).

prey

v.

c.1300, "to plunder, pillage, ravage," from prey (n.) and in part from Old French preer, earlier preder (c.1040), from Late Latin praedare, from praeda (see prey (n.)). Its sense of "to kill and devour" is attested from mid-14c. Related: Preyed; preying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper