synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of eat in English

English Online Dictionary. What means eat‎? What does eat mean?



From Middle English eten, from Old English etan (to eat), from Proto-Germanic *etaną (to eat), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁édti, from *h₁ed- (to eat).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /iːt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /it/
  • Rhymes: -iːt


eat (third-person singular simple present eats, present participle eating, simple past ate or (dialectal) et or (obsolete) eat, past participle eaten or (dialectal) etten)

  1. To ingest; to be ingested.
    1. (transitive, intransitive) To consume (something solid or semi-solid, usually food) by putting it into the mouth and swallowing it.
      • At twilight in the summer there is never anybody to fear—man, woman, or cat—in the chambers and at that hour the mice come out. They do not eat parchment or foolscap or red tape, but they eat the luncheon crumbs.
    2. (intransitive) To consume a meal.
      • 2016, VOA Learning English (public domain)
        I eat in the kitchen.
    3. (intransitive, ergative) To be eaten.
      • 1852, The New Monthly Magazine (page 310)
        I don't know any quarter in England where you get such undeniable mutton—mutton that eats like mutton, instead of the nasty watery, stringy, turnipy stuff, neither mutton nor lamb, that other countries are inundated with.
      • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard
        [] dish him [the fish] with slices of oranges, barberries, grapes, gooseberries, and butter; and you will find that he eats deliriously either with farced pain or gammon pain.
  2. To use up.
    1. (transitive) To destroy, consume, or use up.
      • (Can we date this quote?) William Makepeace Thackeray
        His wretched estate is eaten up with mortgages.
    2. (transitive, informal, of a device) To damage, destroy, or fail to eject a removable part or an inserted object.
      • (Can we date this quote?) Bruce Willis in the movie The Last Boy Scout
        No! There's a problem with the cassette player. Don't press fast forward or it eats the tape!
    3. (transitive, informal, of a vending machine or similar device) To consume money or (other instruents of value, such as a token) deposited or inserted by a user, while failing to either provide the intended product or service, or return the payment.
      • From the movie Slap Shot
        Hey! This stupid [soda vending] machine ate my quarter.
  3. (transitive, informal) To cause (someone) to worry.
  4. (transitive, business) To take the loss in a transaction.
    • From the movie Midnight Run
      I have to have him in court tomorrow, if he doesn't show up, I forfeit the bond and I have to eat the $300,000.
    • 1999, Ronald S. Beitman, Liquor Liability: A Primer for Winning Your Case (page 27)
      The server made an error when taking the order. The bartender prepared two scorpion bowls. When the error was realized the bartender was faced with having to “eat” the extra scorpion bowl []
    • 2011, Lorenzo Carver, Venture Capital Valuation: Case Studies and Methodology
      When they were doing it with the valuation professionals, they were billing the client, but the valuation professional in a lot of those early cases had to eat the cost of showing the auditor how the auditors' test model was incorrect.
  5. (transitive, intransitive) To corrode or erode.
  6. (transitive, informal) To perform oral sex.
    1. (transitive, informal) To perform oral sex on someone.
    2. (transitive, informal) To perform oral sex on a body part.


  • (consume): consume, swallow; see also Thesaurus:eat
  • (cause to worry): bother, disturb, worry
  • (eat a meal): dine, breakfast, chow down, feed one's face, have one's breakfast/lunch/dinner/supper/tea, lunch

Derived terms

Related terms

  • fret
  • ort


See also

  • drink
  • edible
  • food


eat (plural eats)

  1. (colloquial) Something to be eaten; a meal; a food item.
    • 2011, William Chitty, ‎Nigel Barker, ‎Michael Valos, Integrated Marketing Communications (page 167)
      Eating a Picnic creates a flurry of wafer pieces, flying peanuts and chocolate crumbs. [] As well as being messy, Picnic happens to be a big eat – something of a consumption challenge in fact.


  • -ate, AET, Até, Atë, ETA, TEA, Tea, a.e.t., aet, ate, eta, tea, æt.



  • (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈ



  1. third-person singular present active subjunctive of

Northern Sami


  • (Kautokeino) IPA(key): /ˈea̯h(t)/



  1. first-person plural present of ii

West Frisian


  • IPA(key): /ɪə̯t/



  1. something, anything
    Antonym: neat

Further reading

  • “eat”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.