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[dih-vou-uh r, -vou-er] /dɪˈvaʊ ər, -ˈvaʊ ər/
verb (used with object)
to swallow or eat up hungrily, voraciously, or ravenously.
to consume destructively, recklessly, or wantonly:
Fire devoured the old museum.
to engulf or swallow up.
to take in greedily with the senses or intellect:
to devour the works of Freud.
to absorb or engross wholly:
a mind devoured by fears.
1275-1325; Middle English devouren < Anglo-French, Old French devourer < Latin dēvorāre to swallow down, equivalent to dē- de- + vorāre to eat up
Related forms
devourer, noun
devouringly, adverb
devouringness, noun
interdevour, verb (used with object)
predevour, verb (used with object)
redevour, verb (used with object)
self-devouring, adjective
undevoured, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for devours
  • He devours magazines and newspapers, tearing out items that catch his eye.
  • Using computers to build virtual models of biological phenomenon devours a lot of computing resources.
  • Suddenly, into the midst of the frolicking algae jumps a sizeable ciliate, and devours a cryptomonad.
  • She is wild on the ski slopes and mountain-biking trails, but also devours literature.
  • Once liberated, the bird devours every plant in sight.
  • The surprise tactic puts small fish to flight, which the seal then devours.
  • The rich devour the poor, and the devil devours the rich and so both are devoured.
  • The printed book, that gnawing worm, sucks the life-blood from her and devours her.
  • There's our theme: the revolution devours its children.
  • Or a land-based oil slick that devours farmland and habitat, gobbles it up.
British Dictionary definitions for devours


verb (transitive)
to swallow or eat up greedily or voraciously
to waste or destroy; consume: the flames devoured the curtains
to consume greedily or avidly with the senses or mind: he devoured the manuscripts
to engulf or absorb: the flood devoured the land
Derived Forms
devourer, noun
devouring, adjective
devouringly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French devourer, from Latin dēvorāre to gulp down, from de- + vorāre to consume greedily; see voracious
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 devours



early 14c., from Old French devorer (12c.) "devour, swallow up, engulf," from Latin devorare "swallow down, accept eagerly," from de- "down" (see de-) + vorare "to swallow" (see voracity). Related: Devoured; devouring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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