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[kan-uh-buh-liz-uh m] /ˈkæn ə bəˌlɪz əm/
the eating of human flesh by another human being.
the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of its own kind.
the ceremonial eating of human flesh or parts of the human body for magical or religious purposes, as to acquire the power or skill of a person recently killed.
the act of pecking flesh from a live fowl by a member of the same flock.
the removal of parts, equipment, assets, or employees from one product, item, or business in order to use them in another.
the acquisition and absorption of smaller companies by a large corporation or conglomerate.
Origin of cannibalism
1790-1800; cannibal + -ism
Related forms
cannibalistic, adjective
cannibalistically, adverb
noncannibalistic, adjective
noncannibalistically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cannibalistic
  • Scorpions take on other scorpions in this cannibalistic spectacle.
  • But many species are territorial or cannibalistic, making them difficult to farm.
  • The notion that prehistoric human cultures were cannibalistic, however, has its skeptics.
  • Many of them came to a tragic and cannibalistic end.
  • There, the parsing of barbecue's savage and cannibalistic undertones is an intriguing line of conversation.
  • Many cannibalistic societies ate their dead to keep a piece of them as remembrance, not food source.
  • As a result, the chickens turn violent and cannibalistic.
  • Larger fish are know to be opportunistically cannibalistic.
  • Scorpions are also cannibalistic: larger scorpions will prey on smaller, weaker scorpions.
  • They can turn cannibalistic when the pickings get scarce.
British Dictionary definitions for cannibalistic


the act of eating human flesh or the flesh of one's own kind
savage and inhuman cruelty
Derived Forms
cannibalistic, adjective
cannibalistically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cannibalistic

1846, from cannibal + -istic. Elder but failing to flourish were cannibalic, cannibalish (both from 1824).



1796, from cannibal + -ism. Perhaps from French cannibalisme, from the same year.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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