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

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



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

Etymology 1

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


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.
    2. (intransitive) To consume a meal.
      • 2016, VOA Learning English (public domain)
        I eat in the kitchen.
    3. (intransitive, ergative) To be eaten.
    4. (copulative, intransitive) To have a particular quality of diet; to be well-fed or underfed (typically as "eat healthy" or "eat good").
  2. To use up.
    1. (transitive, often with up) To destroy, consume, or use up.
    2. (transitive, programming, informal) To consume (an exception, an event, etc.) so that other parts of the program do not receive it.
    3. (transitive, informal, of a device) To damage, destroy, or fail to eject a removable part or an inserted object.
      • 1991, Shane Black, The Last Boy Scout (movie)
        No! There's a problem with the cassette player. Don't press fast forward or it eats the tape!
    4. (transitive, informal, of a vending machine or similar device) To consume money (or other instruments 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.
      • 1977, Nancy Dowd, Slap Shot (movie)
        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.
    • 1988, George Gallo, Midnight Run (movie)
      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.
  5. (transitive, slang) To be injured or killed by (something such as a firearm or its projectile), especially in the mouth.
    • 1944, William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman, The Big Sleep (screenplay)
      I risk my whole future, the hatred of the cops and Eddie Mars' gang. I dodge bullets and eat saps.
    • 1997, A. A. Gill, "Diary" (in The Spectator, 1 November 1997):
      Friends are only necessary in the ghastly country, where you have to have them, along with rubber boots and a barometer and secateurs, to put off bucolic idiocy, a wet brain, or eating the 12-bore.
  6. (transitive, intransitive) To corrode or erode.
  7. (transitive, slang) To perform oral sex (on a person or body part).
  8. (stative, slang) To be very good; to rule; to rock.
    Synonyms: bang, rule, rock, slap
  • (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
  • (perform oral sex on (a person)): eat out; see also Thesaurus:oral sex
Derived terms
Related terms
  • fret
  • ort
See also
  • drink
  • edible
  • food

Etymology 2

From Middle English ete, ate, æte, from Old English ǣt (food, eating), from Proto-West Germanic *āt, from Proto-Germanic *ētą (food, thing to eat), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ed- (to eat). Cognate with North Frisian ad, it (food), German Aas (carrion), Norwegian åt, Icelandic át (food).


eat (plural eats)

  1. (colloquial) Something to be eaten; a meal; a food item.


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



  • (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈ, [ˈeät̪]
  • (modern Italianate Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /ˈ, [ˈɛːät̪]



  1. third-person singular present active subjunctive of

Northern Sami


  • (Kautokeino) IPA(key): /ˈea̯h(t)/



  1. first-person plural present of ii

West Frisian


From Old Frisian āwet, āet, from ā (always, ever) + *wiht ‘thing, creature’. Compare English aught.


  • IPA(key): /ɪə̯t/



  1. something, anything
    Antonym: neat

Further reading

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

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