simple past tense of .
an ancient Greek goddess personifying the fatal blindness or recklessness that produces crime and the divine punishment that follows it.
equipment that makes a series of tests automatically.
a suffix occurring in loanwords from Latin, its English distribution paralleling that of Latin. The form originated as a suffix added to a- stem verbs to form adjectives (separate). The resulting form could also be used independently as a noun (advocate) and came to be used as a stem on which a verb could be formed (separate; advocate; agitate). In English the use as a verbal suffix has been extended to stems of non-Latin origin: calibrate; acierate .
a specialization of 1 , used to indicate a salt of an acid ending in -ic , added to a form of the stem of the element or group: nitrate; sulfate .
a suffix occurring originally in nouns borrowed from Latin, and in English coinages from Latin bases, that denote offices or functions (consulate; triumvirate; pontificate), as well as institutions or collective bodies (electorate; senate); sometimes extended to denote a person who exercises such a function (magistrate; potentate), an associated place (consulate), or a period of office or rule (protectorate). Joined to stems of any origin, ate3, signifies the office, term of office, or territory of a ruler or official (caliphate; khanate; shogunate).
to take into the mouth and swallow for nourishment; chew and swallow (food).
to consume by or as if by devouring gradually; wear away; corrode:
The patient was eaten by disease and pain.
to make (a hole, passage, etc.), as by gnawing or corrosion.
to ravage or devastate:
a forest eaten by fire.
to use up, especially wastefully; consume (often followed by up):
Unexpected expenses have been eating up their savings.
to absorb or pay for:
The builder had to eat the cost of the repairs.
Slang: Vulgar. to perform cunnilingus or fellatio on.
to consume ; take a meal:
We’ll eat at six o’clock.
to make a way, as by gnawing or corrosion:
Acid ate through the linoleum.
eats, Informal. .
eat away/into, to destroy gradually, as by erosion:
For eons, the pounding waves ate away at the shoreline.
eat out, to have a meal at a restaurant rather than at home.
eat up,

to consume wholly.
to show enthusiasm for; take pleasure in:
The audience ate up everything he said.
to believe without question.

be eating someone, Informal. to worry, annoy, or bother:
Something seems to be eating him—he’s been wearing a frown all day.
eat crow. 1 (def 7).
eat high off the hog. (def 16).
eat humble pie. (def 3).
eat in, to eat or dine at home.
eat one’s heart out. (def 26).
eat one’s terms. (def 17).
eat one’s words. (def 16).
eat out of one’s hand. (def 49).
eat someone out of house and home, to eat so much as to strain someone’s resources of food or money:
A group of hungry teenagers can eat you out of house and home.
eat someone’s lunch, Slang. to thoroughly defeat, outdo, injure, etc.
eat the wind out of, Nautical. to blanket (a sailing vessel sailing close-hauled) by sailing close on the weather side of.
Contemporary Examples

We ate with our hands and Abu Hassar asked me: “When were you the most scared in Iraq?”
The Fourth War: My Lunch with a Jihadi Elliot Ackerman January 20, 2014

As we ate, three people stopped by to introduce themselves—to me.
My Front Row Seat in the Nation’s Strangest Swing State Jim Neal October 29, 2008

They ate stuffed turkey, caviar, fresh salmon, and smoked trout.
Pablo Escobar’s Private Prison Is Now Run by Monks for Senior Citizens Jeff Campagna June 6, 2014

But there was a difference between how I ate in New York and how I ate in California.
Why Los Angeles Is the Best Food Town in America Andrew Romano November 15, 2013

The house where we ate lunch was a two-story wood structure with a simple wooden ladder leading to the second floor.
A Little Too Off the Beaten Path in Burma Katya Cengel June 1, 2014

Historical Examples

The other portion killed and ate his own kind, or was killed and eaten by his own kind.
White Fang Jack London

She did not seem frightened, and ate readily the damper and sugar given her.
Explorations in Australia John Forrest

Who ate or something the somethings of the reverend Mr MacTrigger.
Ulysses James Joyce

All that he touched and ate and wore and used was of the same material Absolute.
The Conquest of Fear Basil King

Then we lighted one of the candles the inn people had given us, and ate our supper.
The Wood Fire in No. 3 F. Hopkinson Smith

the past tense of eat
(Greek myth) a goddess who makes men blind so that they will blunder into guilty acts
verb eats, eating, ate, eaten
to take into the mouth and swallow (food, etc), esp after biting and chewing
(transitive; often foll by away or up) to destroy as if by eating: the damp had eaten away the woodwork
(often foll by into) to use up or waste: taxes ate into his inheritance
often foll by into or through. to make (a hole, passage, etc) by eating or gnawing: rats ate through the floor
to take or have (a meal or meals): we always eat at six
(transitive) to include as part of one’s diet: he doesn’t eat fish
(transitive) (informal) to cause to worry; make anxious: what’s eating you?
(transitive) (slang) to perform cunnilingus or fellatio upon
(informal) I’ll eat my hat if, I will be greatly surprised if (something happens that proves me wrong)
eat one’s heart out, to brood or pine with grief or longing
eat one’s words, to take back something said; recant; retract
eat out of someone’s hand, to be entirely obedient to someone
eat someone out of house and home, to ruin someone, esp one’s parent or one’s host, by consuming all his food
Tanzania (international car registration)
(forming adjectives) possessing; having the appearance or characteristics of: fortunate, palmate, Latinate
(forming nouns) a chemical compound, esp a salt or ester of an acid: carbonate, stearate
(forming nouns) the product of a process: condensate
forming verbs from nouns and adjectives: hyphenate, rusticate
denoting office, rank, or a group having a certain function: episcopate, electorate

past tense of eat (q.v.).

Greek goddess of infatuation and evil, from ate “infatuation, bane, ruin, mischief,” of uncertain origin.

word-forming element used in forming nouns from Latin words ending in -atus, -atum (e.g. estate, primate, senate). Those that came to English via Old and Middle French often arrived with -at, but an -e was added after c.1400 to indicate the long vowel.

The suffix also can mark adjectives, formed from Latin past participals in -atus, -ata (e.g. desolate, moderate, separate), again, they often were adopted in Middle English as -at, with an -e appended after c.1400.

verbal suffix for Latin verbs in -are, identical with -ate (1). Old English commonly made verbs from adjectives by adding a verbal ending to the word (e.g. gnornian “be sad, mourn,” gnorn “sad, depressed”), but as the inflections wore off English words in late Old and early Middle English, there came to be no difference between the adjective and the verb in dry, empty, warm, etc. Thus accustomed to the identity of adjectival and verbal forms of a word, the English, when they began to expand their Latin-based vocabulary after c.1500, simply made verbs from Latin past-participial adjectives without changing their form (e.g. aggravate, substantiate) and it became the custom that Latin verbs were anglicized from their past participle stems.

in chemistry, word-forming element used to form the names of salts from acids in -ic; from Latin -atus, -atum, suffix used in forming adjectives and thence nouns; identical with -ate (1).

The substance formed, for example, by the action of acetic acid (vinegar) on lead was described in the 18th century as plumbum acetatum, i.e. acetated lead. Acetatum was then taken as a noun meaning “the acetated (product),” i.e. acetate. [W.E. Flood, “The Origins of Chemical Names,” London, 1963]


Old English etan (class V strong verb; past tense æt, past participle eten) “to eat, devour, consume,” from Proto-Germanic *etanan (cf. Old Frisian ita, Old Saxon etan, Middle Dutch eten, Dutch eten, Old High German ezzan, German essen, Old Norse eta, Gothic itan), from PIE root *ed- “to eat” (see edible).

Transferred sense of “slow, gradual corrosion or destruction” is from 1550s. Meaning “to preoccupy, engross” (as in what’s eating you?) first recorded 1893. Slang sexual sense of “do cunnilingus on” is first recorded 1927. Eat out “dine away from home” is from 1933. The slang phrase to eat one’s words is from 1570s; to eat one’s heart out is from 1590s; for eat one’s hat, see hat.

-ate suff.

A derivative of a specified chemical compound or element: aluminate.

A salt or ester of a specified acid whose name ends in -ic: acetate.

eat (ēt)
v. ate (āt), eat·en (ēt’n), eat·ing, eats

To take into the body by the mouth for digestion or absorption.

To consume, ravage, or destroy by or as if by ingesting, such as by a disease.

A suffix used to form the name of a salt or ester of an acid whose name ends in -ic, such as acetate, a salt or ester of acetic acid. Such salts or esters have one oxygen atom more than corresponding salts or esters with names ending in -ite. For example, a sulfate is a salt of sulfuric acid and contains the group SO4, while a sulfite contains SO3. Compare -ite.


To preoccupy or upset; engross; fret: She asked what was eating me when I frowned so (1893+)
To be forced to swallow or recant something: He mouths off a lot, and lately has had to eat many of his grand pronouncements (1382+)
To be unable to pass the ball along: They blitzed and the quarterback had to eat the ball (1970s+ Sports)
To accept and enjoy; eat up, SWALLOW something: You really eat this shit, don’t you? (1919+)
(also eat up) To do fellatio or cunnilingus; GO DOWN ON someone: So Little Red Riding Hood said to the wolf ”Eat me” (1916+)

automatic test equipment
earnings after taxes
Tanzania (international vehicle ID)

eat and run
eat away at
eat crow
eat high off the hog
eat in
eat like a bird
eat one’s cake and have it, too
eat one’s hat
eat one’s heart out
eat one’s words
eat out
eat out of someone’s hand
eat shit
eat someone alive
eat someone out
eat someone out of house and home
eat someone up
eat someone’s ass out
eat someone’s lunch
eat up

also see:

dog eat dog
proof of the pudding is in the eating
what’s eating you


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Disclaimer: Ate definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.