Definition of predatory in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpredəˌtôrē/


1Relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others: predatory birds
More example sentences
  • Mammals and birds in particular developed new forms, whether as fast-running herbivores, large predatory mammals and birds, or small quick birds and rodents.
  • But those predatory insects that locate prey through chemical sensing are not deterred.
  • If predatory birds expect their prey to fall to the ground, Schmitz and Auliya's argument runs, they would be unlikely to notice a lizard still hanging from a branch.
predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial;
of prey
2Seeking to exploit or oppress others: a life destroyed by predatory biographers and yellow journalists
More example sentences
  • I mean, there have been cases of predatory females seeking out young, teenage boys to have their wicked way with…
  • Belinda Hoare, of Home and Away, portrays the extraordinary lead character, Miss Julie a fallen, desperate, sexually predatory heiress seeking to be saved by love.
  • The bill also significantly improves protection for society's most vulnerable groups against exploitation by predatory sexual offenders.



Pronunciation: /ˌpredəˈtôrəlē/
Example sentences
  • Like great wasps or huge cruel dragonflies, two helicopters hovered, ominously… predatorily… over the blocks ahead of us.
  • ‘Too bad they're idiots,’ Maddie said, looking at them predatorily.
  • He looked at me, smiling predatorily, running long fingers down my face.


Pronunciation: /ˈpredəˌtôrēnəs/
Example sentences
  • But he is careful to be clear that there's no childhood abuse to blame for her sexual predatoriness.
  • The fundamental political problem of economic development is therefore that of devising the appropriate means for channeling government action into support of markets, rather than predatoriness.
  • And in the final analysis it was her playful innocence that rescued her from the hypnotizing predatoriness of Zanetti, who comes over here as a monstrous enchanter.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'relating to plundering'): from Latin praedatorius, from praedator 'plunderer' (see predator).

  • prison from Old English:

    This comes via Old French from Latin prehendere ‘to seize’. Prehendere is a rich source of English words, being found, amongst many, in apprehend (late 16th century), comprehend (late 16th century); prehensile (late 18th century); and reprehensible (Late Middle English). A shortening of prehendere lies behind praedari ‘plunder’ and praeda ‘booty’, which lie behind depredation (Late Middle English); predatory [L16]; and prey (Middle English).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pred·a·to·ry

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.