Definition of feed in English:

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Pronunciation: /fēd/

verb (pastand past participle fed /fed/)

[with object]
1Give food to: the raiders fed the guard dog to keep it quiet [with two objects]: he fed her brownies he had just baked
More example sentences
  • She got right down to work, feeding every dog their measured amount of food, then cleaning out their cages.
  • I'm the one who usually feeds the cat because I wake first and because I'm here more often in the early evening.
  • After feeding his cat, he'd jump in his car for the 15-minute drive to work.
give food to, provide (food) for, cater for, cook for
1.1 [no object] (Especially of an animal or baby) take food; eat something: morays emerge at night to feed
More example sentences
  • There is not much information available about where the birds are feeding and their nesting habitat closer to the marsh.
  • He had stopped for a while in a glade as the horse fed.
  • You can tell your baby is feeding well if she is gaining enough weight.
graze, browse, crop, pasture;
eat, consume food, chow down
1.2Provide an adequate supply of food for: the island’s simple agriculture could hardly feed its inhabitants
More example sentences
  • The conventional wisdom is that, in order to increase food supply to feed the hungry of the world, we need to redouble efforts to modernize agriculture.
  • In other words, agriculture provided labour for the new factories in the towns and, eventually, food supplies to feed the new industrial working class.
  • Today, we need to fight at two ends of the spectrum - feeding the millions and ensuring what we feed them is nutritionally adequate.
1.3 [no object] (feed on/off) Derive regular nourishment from (a particular substance): the bird feeds on cliff-top vegetation figurative his powerful mind fed off political discussion
More example sentences
  • These may feed on different substances and so be able to coexist, or they may compete for the same substance.
  • The bird usually feeds on shrimps and larvae using its huge bill to sieve food from water.
  • The panic about a potential bird flu pandemic also feeds off the constant diet of food scare stories that we have been force-fed for years.
live on/off, exist on, subsist on, eat, consume
1.4Encourage the growth of: I could feed my melancholy by reading Romantic poetry
More example sentences
  • The economic growth, which in turn has fed the growth of motorised traffic, has led to the inevitable problems associated with road traffic in built-up areas.
  • Hate is fed by ignorance and incompetence.
  • The release of such material fed speculation that he was out to destroy the president.
strengthen, fortify, support, bolster, reinforce, boost, fuel, encourage
1.5Give fertilizer to (a plant).
Example sentences
  • He hasn't fed his bent grass lawn in 10 years, and he says it looks fine.
  • He said the compost in turn then goes to feed the flowers around the school.
  • After they take off, Betty feeds her plants liquid fertilizer with a teaspoon of gelatin powder mixed into each gallon.
1.6Put fuel on (a fire).
Example sentences
  • This fortunate outcome most likely stems form the absence of fuel to explode and feed a post-crash fire.
  • Sub-officer Gary Hastings said that oil and fuel in the vehicles was pooling at the base of the fire and feeding the flames.
  • But when the door is opened and oxygen again feeds the fire, flames can suddenly erupt again.
2Supply (a machine) with material, power, or other things necessary for its operation: the programs are fed into the computer
More example sentences
  • Since the details of the building are fed into the machine, the computer also offers tips on the estimated cost and the quantity of paint required for the job.
  • The ballots were fed into another machine for tabulation.
  • This would then be fed into ACR's machine, which can create more precise shapes than most prototypers.
2.1 [with two objects] Supply (someone) with (information, ideas, etc.): I think he is feeding his old employer commercial secrets
More example sentences
  • The more information you feed your children, the more alert they'll be when the time comes for them to use it.
  • Two days before the trial, he tried to get a former employer to feed him information so he could sell himself to the jury as an international fence and get a lesser sentence.
  • But we're not fed information, this is not Communist Russia, we have to do independent journalism.
supply, provide, give, deliver, furnish, issue, pass on
2.2Supply water to (a body of water): the pond is fed by a small stream [no object]: water feeds into the lower pool
2.3Insert further coins into (a meter) to extend the time for which it operates.
Example sentences
  • All in all, not a cheerful day except for the one time when I exchanged a few words with a woman in the carpark, she seeking ten pence coins to feed the meter.
  • The Parking Meter bonus brings five free spins, and when coins appear on the reels to feed the meters, bonuses multiply.
  • Unless they have a disabled badge, motorists will now be forced to leave short-stay car parks after three hours to stop them returning at three-hour intervals to feed the meter and save cash.
2.4 [with two objects] Prompt (an actor) with (a line): you were still in the wings feeding Micky his lines
More example sentences
  • So, via a very unique performance style, Magnani was fed her lines by a dialogue coach, and she mimicked the sounds she heard.
  • If he's being fed lines in an earphone, I'd expect that he should have to listen to a longer stretch of prompt before launching into a longer phrase.
  • Notice the twitchy, disoriented candidate running for re-election who has to be fed lines.
2.5(In ball games) pass (the ball) to a player: he took the ball and fed Salley
More example sentences
  • Twenty minutes later Erwin Koeman fed a long ball into Van Basten from the left, the unfortunate Kohler was penalised and thus began Holland's happy ending.
  • He can feed the ball around the pitch and he has a wicked strike on him.
  • Seedorf, though, was beginning to exert a strong influence on the Dutch, dropping off the front players, feeding the ball into them and making himself space to control return passes.
2.6US Distribute (a broadcast) to local television or radio stations via satellite or network: programs that the national networks feed to local stations
More example sentences
  • The news will be fed to local BBC and commercial radio stations to keep motorists up to speed with the latest traffic flows.
  • A helicopter follows the peloton, feeding overhead shots to broadcast producers in satellite vans parked at the end of the stage.
  • If local stations could preempt what was being fed from New York and Los Angeles, then programming could be more reflective of family values.
3Cause to move gradually and steadily, typically through a confined space: make holes through which to feed the cables
More example sentences
  • The fountain pen, equipped with a reusable cartridge for holding a large supply of ink to be steadily fed to the nib, was a late 19c advance on the basic metal-nibbed pen.
  • I attached the stand, feeding the VGA cable through the appropriate slot, then looked for the power socket.
  • The public are seeing some very skilful engineering to directly drill under the beck and feed the cables through.


1An act of giving food, especially to animals or a baby, or of having food given to one: I’ve just given the horse her feed
More example sentences
  • She helped me position the babies for their first feeds.
  • When women choose to breastfeed they shouldn't have to stay at home all day because their baby will need a feed.
  • It is an extremely sad society if a mother has to dash off to sit in the toilet every time her baby needs a feed.
1.1 informal A meal: how 'bout I fix up a nice hot feed?
More example sentences
  • A hot shower, a feed of black pudding, a few pints and a big steak, together with a showing of the Peru videos, and what more could a person want.
  • It stated light buffet on the tickets, if that was a light buffet what on earth is a big feed in the Feehan household.
  • That's a great price for a big feed and all steak fans around York should consider a trip to sample this restaurant's speciality.
1.2Food for domestic animals: the crops are grown for animal feed cow feed
More example sentences
  • He kills wildlife - birds, deer, kangaroo, and all kinds of cat, rabbits, mice and foxes - by the million to protect his domestic animals and their feed.
  • The low-quality dates and the date pits are used as animal feed for cows and sheep.
  • BSE is not a contagious disease but occurs when cows eat feed that contains infected animal products.
fodder, food, forage, pasturage, herbage, provender
formal comestibles
2A device or conduit for supplying material to a machine: the plotter has a continuous paper feed
More example sentences
  • These parameters are used by the system controller to determine the rotational speed and the vertical feed of the machine spindle.
  • Additional standpipe feeds for the water sprinkler system were installed.
  • The largest is the drawer machine which has 4 feeds and knits from four bobbins.
2.1The supply of raw material to a machine or device: [as modifier]: a feed pipe
More example sentences
  • Iron bed rollers were supplied on the hand feed machine.
  • The rubber grinding machine includes a feed tube, a grinding module, a conveyor, a screening module and a vacuum system.
  • The printer takes only 250 sheets of letter paper at a time, with legal paper usable only via its manual feed front paper slot.
2.2A broadcast distributed by satellite or network from a central source to a large number of radio or television stations: a satellite feed from Washington
More example sentences
  • The live feed was also broadcast globally by the Sirius satellite radio network.
  • Other channels are audio feeds of television stations.
  • The hourly news bulletins on weekdays are feeds from Independent Radio News.
2.3 Computing A facility for notifying the user of a blog or other frequently updated website that new content has been added: most blogs and news sites offer RSS feeds of their latest content
More example sentences
  • All I'm doing is changing my Twitter feed.
  • You can even set a refresh rate based on the individual feed.
  • I thus can repeat the above commands with the syndication feed from my Weblog.
3A line or prompt given to an actor on stage.
Example sentences
  • Simon needed our kid to speak up and give him the feed line of ‘no’ so he could deliver his line and then subsequent cheap shot.
3.1An actor who provides a feed to a fellow performer.
Example sentences
  • I don't count - I'm only a feed.


off one's feed

informal Having no appetite.
Example sentences
  • You complained about the ubiquity of music in some restaurants, as if the mere presence of a cover band was enough to put you off your feed.
  • I can understand them not wanting people looking at the website in there, as it might put other customers off their feed.
  • Sometimes when I'm ‘off my feed’ and not feeling up to polite society it's better for me to have something in my hands.

Phrasal verbs

feed back

1(Of a response) influence the development of the thing that has given rise to it: what the audience tells me feeds back into my work
More example sentences
  • Consumers also play a role in the innovation process of creative industries by their willingness to pay for a new style, which feeds back to influence production and distribution structures.
  • Based on this feed back and a low response rate, this item was revised for the third mailing.
  • Equally important is how the results of those ‘failures’ are fed back into further theory development.
2(Of an electrical or other system) produce feedback.
Example sentences
  • It's the same thing that makes an electric guitar feed back.
  • It has pickups on it - when I turn up my amp, it'll feed back.


Old English fēdan (verb); related to food.

Words that rhyme with feed

accede, bead, Bede, bleed, breed, cede, concede, creed, deed, Eid, exceed, Gide, God speed, greed, he'd, heed, impede, interbreed, intercede, Jamshid, knead, lead, mead, Mede, meed, misdeed, mislead, misread, need, plead, proceed, read, rede, reed, Reid, retrocede, screed, secede, seed, she'd, speed, stampede, steed, succeed, supersede, Swede, tweed, weak-kneed, we'd, weed

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: feed

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