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Pore Over vs. Pour Over


[prey] /preɪ/
an animal hunted or seized for food, especially by a carnivorous animal.
a person or thing that is the victim of an enemy, a swindler, a disease, etc.; gull.
the action or habit of preying:
a beast of prey.
Archaic. booty or plunder.
verb (used without object)
to seize and devour prey, as an animal does (usually followed by on or upon):
Foxes prey on rabbits.
to make raids or attacks for booty or plunder:
The Vikings preyed on coastal settlements.
to exert a harmful or destructive influence:
His worries preyed upon his mind.
to victimize another or others (usually followed by on or upon):
loan sharks that prey upon the poor.
Origin of prey
1200-50; Middle English preye < Old French < Latin praeda booty, prey; akin to prehendere to grasp, seize (see prehension)
Related forms
preyer, noun
unpreying, adjective
Can be confused
pray, prayer, prey.
2. dupe, target. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for prey upon
Historical Examples
  • Because he feels, and they prey upon his miserable feelings.

    The Locusts' Years Mary Helen Fee
  • And on that she departed, craftily, leaving her suggestion to prey upon his mind.

  • We had no sooner settled down in a comfortless inn than the underlings of the various officials came to prey upon us.

  • We've got to be wolves and prey upon the poor lamb in her moment of defenselessness.

    Elsie Marley, Honey Joslyn Gray
  • But when food is scarce it will kill and devour small animals, and has even been known to prey upon its own kind.

  • For they prey upon one another, those men, as readily as they prey upon society.

    A Woman at Bay Nicholas Carter
  • So it was that Agrippa joined the household and sought to prey upon twittering sparrows.

  • Both take their prey upon the wing; but herein lies the difference.

    The Young Voyageurs Mayne Reid
  • Perhaps they were pursued by wolves, which were always loitering about the herds at that season to prey upon the young calves.

    The War Trail Elmer Russell Gregor
  • There is a despised class of pawn usurers who prey upon the poor.

    Usury Calvin Elliott
British Dictionary definitions for prey upon


an animal hunted or captured by another for food
a person or thing that becomes the victim of a hostile person, influence, etc
beast of prey, an animal that preys on others for food
bird of prey, a bird that preys on others for food
an archaic word for booty1
verb (intransitive; often foll by on or upon)
to hunt or seize food by killing other animals
to make a victim (of others), as by profiting at their expense
to exert a depressing or obsessive effect (on the mind, spirits, etc); weigh heavily (upon)
Derived Forms
preyer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French preie, from Latin praeda booty; see predatory
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 prey upon



mid-13c., "animal hunted for food," also "that which is taken in war," from Old French preie "booty, animal taken in the chase" (mid-12c., Modern French proie), from Latin praeda "booty, plunder, game hunted," earlier praeheda, related to prehendere "to grasp, seize" (see prehensile).


c.1300, "to plunder, pillage, ravage," from prey (n.) and in part from Old French preer, earlier preder (c.1040), from Late Latin praedare, from praeda (see prey (n.)). Its sense of "to kill and devour" is attested from mid-14c. Related: Preyed; preying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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