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[om-niv-er-uh s] /ɒmˈnɪv ər əs/
eating both animal and plant foods.
eating all kinds of foods indiscriminately.
taking in everything, as with the mind:
an omnivorous reader.
Origin of omnivorous
1650-60; < Latin omnivorus, equivalent to omni- omni- + -vorus -vorous
Related forms
omnivorism, noun
omnivorously, adverb
omnivorousness, noun
omnivorism, noun
Can be confused
carnivorous, herbivorous, omnivorous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for omnivorous
  • Old enough to have some perspective, maturity, and ten years of omnivorous reading.
  • The omnivorous creature represents a missing link between earlier meat-eaters and later herbivores.
  • The only other candidates were the large, meat-eating or omnivorous mammals of the site.
  • He was lucky in being, by temperament, chronically hungry and omnivorous.
  • Find out what these omnivorous giants eat to prepare for hibernation.
  • Yet the omnivorous nature of a colonial language is a writer's gift.
  • At the end of the millennium, this wasteful process threatens to become an omnivorous beast that consumes itself.
  • He is omnivorous in his exoticism, but restrictive in his geography.
  • The two are in the process of fusing with the movies into something larger and more omnivorous.
  • Slim combines an omnivorous attention to detail with a penchant for simplicity.
British Dictionary definitions for omnivorous


eating food of both animal and vegetable origin, or any type of food indiscriminately
taking in or assimilating everything, esp with the mind
Derived Forms
omnivorously, adverb
omnivorousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin omnivorus all-devouring, from omni- + vorāre to eat greedily
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 omnivorous

1650s, from Latin omnivorus "all-devouring," from omnis "all" (see omni-) + vorare "devour, swallow" (see voracity). Related: Omnivorously; omnivorousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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omnivorous in Science
An organism that eats both plants and animals.

omnivorous adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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