Definition of devour in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /dəˈvou(ə)r/


[with object]
1Eat (food or prey) hungrily or quickly: he devoured half of his burger in one bite
More example sentences
  • As we settled down to supper, devouring the food hungrily, the front door slammed open.
  • We welcomed the range of foreign foods on offer, devouring pizza, curry and Thai greedily.
  • Nietzsche illustrates the dynamics of the strong valuation with an infamous image of birds of prey devouring defenseless lambs.
eat hungrily, eat greedily, gobble (up/down), guzzle, gulp (down), bolt (down), gorge oneself on, wolf (down), feast on, consume, eat up
informal demolish, dispose of, make short work of, polish off, shovel down, stuff oneself with, pig out on, put away
informal scarf (down/up)
1.1(Of fire, disease, or other forces) consume (someone or something) destructively: the hungry flames devoured the old house
More example sentences
  • Leaning over, she scatters the remains of the card into the fireplace, watching the flames devour it and leave behind only ashes.
  • In less than half an hour, the flames devoured four buildings.
  • She hit the Platters rocks, close to the shore just west of the suspension bridge, and a fire devoured what remained above the water.
consume, engulf, envelop;
destroy, demolish, lay waste, devastate;
gut, ravage, ruin, wreck
1.2Read (something) quickly and eagerly: she spent her evenings devouring the classics
More example sentences
  • Amanda read the pamphlet with great interest, devouring every word and photograph.
  • The semi-annual issuance of the INFORMANT was eagerly awaited, and serious players literally devoured its contents from cover to cover.
  • He read Aristotle, Plato, Marx and Lenin and devoured both great European novels and contemporary pulp fiction in binges of late-night reading.
1.3 (be devoured) (Of a person) be totally absorbed by an unpleasant feeling: she was devoured by need
More example sentences
  • Fearing I would soon be totally devoured, I broke away from a pash for the second time in the space of about half an hour - surely a new record.
  • Then give yourself permission to stop worrying about things you can't control, so you won't be devoured by fear.
afflict, plague, bedevil, trouble, harrow, rack;
consume, swallow up, overcome, overwhelm



Pronunciation: /dəˈvou(ə)rər/
Example sentences
  • She was as much an actress: a devourer of words, books, theatre and cinema screen, costume and design, dance and folklore, as she was the vessel for her incredible voice.
  • Here the story picks up as the tormented devourer of souls tries to escape his captor, the omnipresent octopus-like Elder God.
  • Enraged, Gupan and Utar descended from the Chariot of The Clouds into the pit to do battle with Mot, devourer of The Dead.




Middle English: from Old French devorer, from Latin devorare, from de- 'down' + vorare 'to swallow'.

Words that rhyme with devour

bower, cower, dower, embower, empower, endower, flour, flower, gaur, Glendower, glower, hour, lour, lower, our, plougher (US plower), power, scour, shower, sour, Stour, sweet-and-sour, tower

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·vour

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.