An owl preying on a mouse.
- Prey is a person or animal that falls victim to another or an animal that lives off of other animals.
- An example of prey is a deer being hunted by a man.
- An example of prey is an owl catching and killing a rabbit for food.
- Prey is defined as to catch, kill, eat or victimize.
An example of prey is someone being conned out of large amounts of money.
- Archaic plunder; booty
- an animal hunted or killed for food by another animal
- a person or thing that falls victim to someone or something
- the mode of living by preying on other animals: a bird of prey
Origin of preyMiddle English preye from Old French preie from Classical Latin praeda from base of prehendere, to seize: see prehensile
- to plunder; rob
- to hunt or kill other animals for food
- to make profit from a victim as by swindling
- to have a wearing or harmful influence; weigh heavily
- a. An animal hunted or caught by another for food: The leopard carried its prey into a tree.b. The collection of animals typically hunted and eaten by a predator: the acoustic location of prey by barn owls.
- a. An object or victim of attack: ships that became the prey of pirates.b. One that is subjected to or afflicted with something: was prey to depression.c. One that is deceived or taken advantage of by another: easy prey for swindlers.
- Archaic a. The act or practice of preying.b. Plunder; booty.
intransitive verbpreyed, prey·ing, preys
- To hunt, catch, or eat as prey: Owls prey on mice.
- To victimize or make a profit at someone else's expense: swindlers who prey upon the weak.
- To plunder or pillage: Vikings preying on coastal settlements.
- To exert a baneful or injurious effect: Remorse preyed on his mind.
Origin of preyMiddle English preie from Old French from Latin praeda booty, prey ; see ghend- in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural preys)
- (archaic) Anything, as goods, etc., taken or got by violence; anything taken by force from an enemy in war; spoil; booty; plunder.
- That which is or may be seized by animals or birds to be devoured; hence, a person given up as a victim.
- A living thing that is eaten by another living thing.
- The rabbit was eaten by the coyote, so the rabbit is the coyote's prey.
- The act of devouring other creatures; ravage.
- The victim of a disease.
(third-person singular simple present preys, present participle preying, simple past and past participle preyed)