- 1An animal that is hunted and killed by another for food: the kestrel pounced on its preyMore example sentences
- Rodents are prey for avian, reptilian, and mammalian predators.
- The enzymes and toxins in scorpion venom are used by the arachnid to paralyse its prey and digest its food.
- The calving lures many animals of prey, including lions and spotted hyena.
- 1.1A person who is easily deceived or harmed: he was easy prey for the two con menMore example sentences
- That the enemy had not singled Winfred out to be easy prey was nothing short of pure fortune, especially with the battle still raging before his eyes.
- A lot of youth are illiterate and unemployed and easy prey.
- In this hot, desert-like mountain landscape I too would be easy prey.
verb[no object] (prey on/upon) Back to top
- 1Hunt and kill for food: small birds that prey on insect pestsMore example sentences
- As much as I am appalled at what cats do to defenceless animals, I could never be cruel to them, even when they invade my garden to prey on the birds that drop in for food and water.
- Lacewings are beneficial insects which prey on bugs that damage food crops.
- Considered pests that prey on pets and livestock, the eagles have been hunted down by residents.
- 1.1Take advantage of or harm: this is a mean type of theft by ruthless people preying on the elderlyMore example sentences
- Ruthless thieves are preying on the elderly outside charity and discount shops in Swindon.
- Cruel doorstep cheats who prey on elderly people claim the number one spot on a damning ‘top five’ list of the worst swindlers, conmen and thieves.
- Gardaí believe he was one of the leaders of a group of Traveller families who prey on elderly people living alone in remote, rural parts of the west of Ireland.
- 1.2Cause constant distress to: the problem had begun to prey on my mindMore example sentences
- As he grew up he refused to allow the horrific accident to prey on his mind and despite his disability he was able to do well at primary and elementary school.
- When I'm between jobs, the issue of money tends to prey on my mind.
- After the couple's return from the holiday isle, one thing continued to prey on their mind.
fall prey to (also be or become prey to)
- Be hunted and killed by (an animal): small rodents fell prey to domestic catsMore example sentences
- In Northeast China, a Siberian tiger was recently found killed after it fell prey to a trap originally set by the locals for boars.
- Many fall prey to poachers who kill them for meat and steal eggs from the corpses to sell as aphrodisiacs.
- Eggs and hatchlings are the most vulnerable, falling prey to insects, crustaceans, mollusks, small mammals, birds, other reptiles, and various fishes.
- Be vulnerable to or overcome by: he would often fall prey to melancholy the settlers become prey to nameless fearsMore example sentences
- Economic actors, sage and careful in other things, can in some circumstances fall prey to what Frank calls ‘luxury fever.’
- Whether or not he formed political opinions on his own, or simply fell prey to the rhetoric of more intelligent people, remains to be seen, although even his loving wife accused him of being extremely naive at times.
- I think that she fell prey to someone much more powerful and more cunning than she was and believed everything he said hook, line, and sinker, and she's a victim of crime, the way I see it.
Middle English (also denoting plunder taken in war): the noun from Old French preie, from Latin praeda 'booty', the verb from Old French preier, based on Latin praedari 'seize as plunder', from praeda.