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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 cannibalism
  • The cannibalism of primitive races derives its more sublime motivation in a similar manner.
  • Let's not forget the corporate cannibalism that the lower caste lives under.
  • Some of the dead fish appeared to have died from attacks by other fish, and there were several instances of cannibalism.
  • Explanations range from vanishing habitats, fungal infections, cannibalism and predation to the far more ominous.
  • Scientists believe that cannibalism was as common among dinosaurs as it is among modern animals.
  • Along the way, she stayed in a village presided over by missionaries, where unbeknownst to them cannibalism was still practiced.
  • In his journal he wrote that he was not bothered by the residents' propensity for cannibalism.
  • Someone shot an arrow into him, and no signs of cannibalism.
  • Islanders say there was probably cannibalism, as well as carnage, and seem to think no less of their ancestors because of it.
  • cannibalism was widespread, first of the dead and then of the living.
British Dictionary definitions for cannibalism


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 cannibalism

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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