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[kahr-nuh-vawr, -vohr] /ˈkɑr nəˌvɔr, -ˌvoʊr/
an animal that eats flesh.
a flesh-eating mammal of the order Carnivora, comprising the dogs, cats, bears, seals, and weasels.
an insectivorous plant.
1850-55; < Latin carnivorus carnivorous
Related forms
[kahr-niv-er-uh l] /kɑrˈnɪv ər əl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for carnivore
  • The bigger the herbivore gets the bigger the carnivore has to get to reach its food.
  • We will probe the edges of our universe with a gusto that only a satisfied carnivore can muster.
  • T rex dwarfed today's largest living land carnivore, the polar bear.
  • The fierce carnivore tracks the wounded creature and dines at its leisure once the prey collapses.
  • The carnivore becomes infected when it eats meat from a duck with cysts.
  • Another rare forest carnivore that potentially occurs in the watershed is the wolverine.
  • The carnivore becomes infected when it eats meat from a herbivore with cysts.
  • As a carnivore, it possess a mouth full of long, sharp teeth.
  • An obligate or true carnivore is an animal that must eat meat in order to thrive.
British Dictionary definitions for carnivore


any placental mammal of the order Carnivora, typically having large pointed canine teeth and sharp molars and premolars, specialized for eating flesh. The order includes cats, dogs, bears, raccoons, hyenas, civets, and weasels
any other animal or any plant that feeds on animals
(informal) an aggressively ambitious person
Word Origin
C19: probably back formation from carnivorous
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 carnivore

"flesh-eating animal," 1839, from French carnivore (16c.), from Latin carnivorus "flesh-eating" (see carnivorous).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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carnivore in Science
    1. An animal that feeds chiefly on the flesh of other animals. Carnivores include predators such as lions and alligators, and scavengers such as hyenas and vultures. In a food chain, carnivores are either secondary or tertiary consumers. Compare detritivore, herbivore.

    2. Any of various generally meat-eating mammals of the order Carnivora. Carnivores have large, sharp canine teeth and large brains, and the musculoskeletal structure of their forelimbs permits great flexibility for springing at prey. Many carnivores remain in and defend a single territory. Dogs, cats, bears, weasels, raccoons, hyenas, and (according to some classifications) seals and walruses are all carnivores.

  1. A plant that eats insects, such as a Venus flytrap.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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carnivore in Culture
carnivore [(kahr-nuh-vawr)]

A living thing that eats meat. Among mammals, there is an order of carnivores, including primarily meat-eating animals such as tigers and dogs. Some plants, such as the Venus's-flytrap, are carnivores.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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