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 food; 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. food.
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. crow1 (def 7).
eat high off the hog. hog (def 16).
eat humble pie. humble pie (def 3).
eat in, to eat or dine at home.
eat one’s heart out. heart (def 26).
eat one’s terms. term (def 17).
eat one’s words. word (def 16).
eat out of one’s hand. 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

You know the Korean-style barbecue that you wrap in lettuce leaves to eat?
Chang-rae Lee: How I Write Noah Charney January 21, 2014

They sing, dance, laugh, ride bicycles, marry, play instruments, and eat.
Secrets of Día de los Muertos Ana Sofia Pelaez October 26, 2009

It’s a succulent leaf, thicker than spinach, but when you chew and eat it, it tastes identical to a raw oyster.
Confessions of a Mad Scientist Katie Workman August 17, 2009

These texts would bring appreciation for fine food to average Americans and continue to dictate how we eat and cook today.
This Week’s Hot Reads, Oct. 21, 2013 Thomas Flynn October 20, 2013

From lip gloss to a $20,000 tour of India, click here for our gallery of eat Pray Love Inc.
Inside the Eat Pray Love Merchandising Machine Lauren Streib August 16, 2010

Historical Examples

“He ought not to eat roasted meat,” said Nurse Branscome slowly.
Brother Copas Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

That seemed short enough—but after studying it, I says, What’s the use of saying ‘eat’?
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

Germain felt ill at ease in this company, and did not eat heartily.
The Devil’s Pool George Sand

We did justice to the supper, as we had not had anything to eat for thirty-two hours.
Explorations in Australia John Forrest

You are got far southwards; but I think you must eat no fruit while you drink the waters.
The Journal to Stella Jonathan Swift

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)

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.

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.


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+)

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


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