Share this entry
cannibal Line breaks: can¦ni|bal
Pronunciation: /ˈkanɪb(ə)l/

Definition of cannibal in English:


1A person who eats the flesh of other human beings: [as modifier]: cannibal tribes
More example sentences
  • The ship anchored in the French Polynesia, and his encounters with a cannibal tribe there became the subject of his first novel, Typee.
  • Fourteen years ago they were the last cannibal tribe of Papua New Guinea.
  • Typee embellished his sojourn with a cannibal tribe in the Marquesas Islands.
1.1An animal that feeds on flesh of its own species.
Example sentences
  • Will all the animal food manufacturers please stop using dead animals to feed others of the same species making our pets cannibals?
  • Whereas the humble brownie survives on a meagre diet of crustaceans and fly life, the ferox is a committed cannibal, feeding largely on young fish of its own species.
  • Apparently she saw a hen dispatch and consume a mouse and B.'s decided chickens are despicable cannibals - or at least the ones L. raises.


Pronunciation: /kanɪbəˈlɪstɪk/
Example sentences
  • The Sala Mpasu's cultivation of a reputation as fierce, cannibalistic warriors aided their bid to retain independence by keeping their enemies off balance.
  • They played cannibalistic or necrophiliac killers, crazed cops and deranged victims in Cat III movies, then went back to standard action movies.
  • He said he was carrying out a request of this individual, who as I mentioned, had cannibalistic fantasies himself.
Pronunciation: /kanɪbəˈlɪstɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • If, as the post-modern theorists have told us, there are no masterpieces left to be made, then the only remaining option is to become culture vultures, cannibalistically gnawing away at what came before.
  • The ban on feeding cows cannibalistically, i.e., parts of other ruminants, went into effect because the practice is the major conduit for infecting healthy cattle with the disease.


Mid 16th century: from Spanish Canibales (plural), variant (recorded by Columbus) of Caribes, the name of a West Indian people reputed to eat humans (see Carib).

  • The explorer Christopher Columbus brought back the word cannibal to Europe. On landing in the West Indies he encountered the warlike Caribs, and gained the impression they were cannibals. His interpretation of their name was Canibales, which entered English in a translated account of his voyage written in 1553. The Caribs also gave their name to the Caribbean sea and region.

Words that rhyme with cannibal

Definition of cannibal in:
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.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Related Words