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[pred-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈprɛd əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
Zoology. preying upon other organisms for food.
of, relating to, or characterized by plunder, pillage, robbery, or exploitation:
predatory tactics.
engaging in or living by these activities:
predatory bands of brigands.
excessive or exploitive in amount or cost, as out of greed or to take advantage of consumers or patrons:
predatory pricing.
acting with or possessed by overbearing, rapacious, or selfish motives:
He was cornered at the party by a predatory reporter.
Origin of predatory
1580-90; < Latin praedātōrius. See predator, -tory1
Related forms
predatorily, adverb
predatoriness, noun
nonpredatorily, adverb
nonpredatorilyness, noun
nonpredatory, adjective
unpredatory, adjective
2, 3. rapacious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for predatory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She hadn't even the one redeeming virtue of most carnivorous or predatory races—an insensate and almost automatic courage.

    Science in Arcady Grant Allen
  • His courage might have been predatory, for he certainly liked to eat lobster.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • Their predatory bands were wandering in all directions, and almost every day came fraught with tidings of outrage or massacre.

    Daniel Boone John S. C. Abbott
  • See here, this creature, imperfect as it is, represents the predatory machine.

    The Ideal Stanley Grauman Weinbaum
  • The Thoughts outlined a scheme of policy, the most startling feature of which was an instant, predatory, foreign war.

    Lincoln Nathaniel Wright Stephenson
British Dictionary definitions for predatory


/ˈprɛdətərɪ; -trɪ/
(zoology) another word for predacious (sense 1)
of, involving, or characterized by plundering, robbing, etc
Derived Forms
predatorily, adverb
predatoriness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praedātōrius rapacious, from praedārī to pillage, from praeda booty
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 predatory

1580s, "involving plundering," from Latin praedatorius "pertaining to plunder," from praedator "plunderer," from praedor "to plunder," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)). Of animals, from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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