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eat definition


This page has 18 definitions of eat with English translations in 4 languages. Eat is a verb, noun and pronoun. Examples of how to use eat in a sentence are shown. Also define these 28 related words and terms: ingest, transitive, intransitive, consume, food, mouth, swallow, meal, copular verb, diet, well-fed, underfed, healthy, good, use up, destroy, eject, worry, business, transaction, corrode, erode, oral sex, eo, ii, something, anything, and neat.

English eat definition


From Middle English eten, from Old English etan (to eat), from Proto-West Germanic *etan, from Proto-Germanic *etaną (to eat), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁édti, from *h₁ed- (to eat).



eat (third-person singular simple present eats, present participle eating, simple past ate or (dialectal) et or (obsolete) eat, past participle eaten or (dialectal) etten)

  1. To ingest; to be ingested.
    1. (transitive, intransitive) To consume (something solid or semi-solid, usually food) by putting it into the mouth and swallowing it.
      He’s eating an apple. / Don’t disturb me now; can't you see that I’m eating?
    2. (intransitive) To consume a meal.
      What time do we eat this evening?
    3. (intransitive, ergative) To be eaten.
      It's a soup that eats like a meal.
      • 1852, The New Monthly Magazine (page 310)
        I don't know any quarter in England where you get such undeniable mutton—mutton that eats like mutton, instead of the nasty watery, stringy, turnipy stuff, neither mutton nor lamb, that other countries are inundated with.
      • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard
        [] dish him [the fish] with slices of oranges, barberries, grapes, gooseberries, and butter; and you will find that he eats deliriously either with farced pain or gammon pain.
    4. (copulative, intransitive) To have a particular quality of diet; to be well-fed or underfed (typically as "eat healthy" or "eat good").
    • Ingest definition
      To take a substance (e.g. food) into the body of an organism, especially through the mouth and into the gastrointestinal tract. (1 of 2 ingest definitions)
    • Swallow definition
      To cause (food, drink etc.) to pass from the mouth into the stomach; to take into the stomach through the throat. (1 of 7 swallow definitions)
    • Underfed definition
      Inadequately fed.
  2. To use up.
    1. (transitive) To destroy, consume, or use up.
      This project is eating up all the money.
    2. (transitive, informal, of a device) To damage, destroy, or fail to eject a removable part or an inserted object.
      The VHS recorder just ate the tape and won't spit it out.
      John is late for the meeting because the photocopier ate his report.
    3. (transitive, informal, of a vending machine or similar device) To consume money (or other instruments of value, such as a token) deposited or inserted by a user, while failing to either provide the intended product or service, or return the payment.
      The video game in the corner just ate my quarter.
  3. (transitive, informal) To cause (someone) to worry.
    What’s eating you?
    • Worry definition
      To be troubled; to give way to mental anxiety or doubt. (1 of 6 worry definitions)
  4. (transitive, business) To take the loss in a transaction.
    • 1988, George Gallo, Midnight Run (movie)
      I have to have him in court tomorrow, if he doesn't show up, I forfeit the bond and I have to eat the $300,000.
    • 1999, Ronald S. Beitman, Liquor Liability: A Primer for Winning Your Case, page 27:
      The server made an error when taking the order. The bartender prepared two scorpion bowls. When the error was realized the bartender was faced with having to “eat” the extra scorpion bowl []
    • 2011, Lorenzo Carver, Venture Capital Valuation:
      When they were doing it with the valuation professionals, they were billing the client, but the valuation professional in a lot of those early cases had to eat the cost of showing the auditor how the auditors' test model was incorrect.
  5. (transitive, slang) To be injured or killed by (something such as a firearm or its projectile), especially in the mouth.
    • 1944, William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman, The Big Sleep (screenplay)
      I risk my whole future, the hatred of the cops and Eddie Mars' gang. I dodge bullets and eat saps.
    • 1991, Stephen King, Needful Things:
      And, of course, there was Brian Rusk, who had eaten a bullet at the ripe old age of eleven.
    • 1997, A. A. Gill, "Diary" (in The Spectator, 1 November 1997):
      Friends are only necessary in the ghastly country, where you have to have them, along with rubber boots and a barometer and secateurs, to put off bucolic idiocy, a wet brain, or eating the 12-bore.
    • 2012, Kaya McLaren, How I Came to Sparkle Again: A Novel, St. Martin's Press (→ISBN):
      Mike had been to other calls where someone had eaten a gun. He knew to expect teeth embedded in the ceiling and brains dripping off it.
    • 2017, Edward W. Robertson, Stardust, Edward W. Robertson:
      The animal was sweating and scared and MacAdams was surprised when they finished up without either of them eating a kick.
    • 2018, Daniel Tomazic, Of Bullies and Men: Young Adult Fiction (→ISBN), page 18:
      There was a resounding smacking noise and Georgy was sure Philip had just eaten a fist.
  6. (transitive, intransitive) To corrode or erode.
    The acid rain ate away the statue.  The strong acid eats through the metal.
  7. (transitive, slang) To perform oral sex (on a person or body part).
    Eat me!
    I ate his ass.
    Yeah, eat that dick / eat that pussy.
    • Oral Sex definition
      Stimulation of the genitals using the mouth.


Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also


eat (plural eats)

  1. (colloquial) Something to be eaten; a meal; a food item.
    • 2011, William Chitty, ‎Nigel Barker, ‎Michael Valos, Integrated Marketing Communications (page 167)
      Eating a Picnic creates a flurry of wafer pieces, flying peanuts and chocolate crumbs. [] As well as being messy, Picnic happens to be a big eat – something of a consumption challenge in fact.


Latin eat definition




  1. third-person singular present active subjunctive of
    • Eo definition
      third-person singular present indicative of bezañ

Northern Sami eat definition


  • (Kautokeino) IPA(key): /ˈea̯h(t)/



  1. first-person plural present of ii

West Frisian eat definition




  1. something, anything
    Antonym: neat

Further reading

  • eat”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011