• WordNet 3.6
    • v prey prey on or hunt for "These mammals predate certain eggs"
    • v prey profit from in an exploitatory manner "He feeds on her insecurity"
    • n prey animal hunted or caught for food
    • n prey a person who is the aim of an attack (especially a victim of ridicule or exploitation) by some hostile person or influence "he fell prey to muggers","everyone was fair game","the target of a manhunt"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The Barn Owls hearing is so highly developed that they can hunt for their prey in total darkness
    • n Prey Anything, as goods, etc., taken or got by violence; anything taken by force from an enemy in war; spoil; booty; plunder. "And they brought the captives, and the prey , and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest."
    • Prey That which is or may be seized by animals or birds to be devoured; hence, a person given up as a victim.
    • Prey The act of devouring other creatures; ravage.
    • v. i Prey To take booty; to gather spoil; to ravage; to take food by violence. "More pity that the eagle should be mewed,
      While kites and buzzards prey at liberty."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The platypus uses its bill to find animals that it feeds on. Its bill can sense the tiny electric fields that their preys emit
    • prey An obsolete form of pray.
    • n prey Goods taken by robbery or pillage; spoil; booty; plunder.
    • n prey That which is seized by any carnivorous animal to be devoured; quarry, as of a raptorial bird.
    • n prey Hence That which is given into the power of another or others; a victim.
    • n prey The act of preying or seizing upon anything. Plundering; pillage; robbery; depredation.
    • n prey The act of seizing in order to devour; seizure, as by a carnivorous animal of its victim.
    • n prey Synonyms Booty, etc. (see pillage).
    • n prey Ravin.
    • prey To take booty; commit robbery or pillage; seize spoils: generally with on or upon.
    • prey To seize and devour an animal as prey: generally followed by on or upon.
    • prey To exert wasting or destroying power or influence ; bring injury, decay, or destruction: generally followed by on or upon.
    • prey To ravage; pillage; make prey of.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When baby sharks are born, they swim away from their mothers right away and are on there own. In fact, their mothers might see them as prey
    • n Prey prā that which is taken by robbery or force: booty: plunder: that which is or may be seized to be devoured: a victim: depredation:
    • v.i Prey to take plunder: to seize and devour: to waste or impair gradually: to weigh heavily (on or upon), as the mind
    • n Prey prā (Shak.) the act of seizing
    • ***


  • G. M. Trevelyan
    G. M. Trevelyan
    “Education... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading, an easy prey to sensations and cheap appeals.”
  • Bertrand Russell
    “Unless one is taught what to do with success after getting it, achievement of it must inevitably leave him prey to boredom.”
  • Charles Churchill
    Charles Churchill
    “Half-starved spiders prey'd on half-starved flies.”
  • Thomas Jefferson
    “Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
  • Ouida
    “Take hope from the heart of man and you make him a beast of prey.”
  • D. H. Lawrence
    “Oh literature, oh the glorious Art, how it preys upon the marrow in our bones. It scoops the stuffing out of us, and chucks us aside. Alas!”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. preie, F. proie, L. praeda, probably for praeheda,. See Prehensile, and cf. Depredate Predatory
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. praie (Fr. proie)—L. præda, booty.


In literature:

The town was a giant spider drawing in its prey, and I was the prey, it seemed.
"The Trail of '98" by Robert W. Service
Here, with tongue hanging out, he stood a moment watching the heaving waters which seemed maddened at the loss of their prey.
"Followers of the Trail" by Zoe Meyer
The roar of the multitudes was as that of an angry sea that hungers for its prey and will not be denied.
"A Book of Myths" by Jean Lang
Acridophagus: preying and feeding on grasshoppers.
"Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology" by John. B. Smith
They do not stalk their prey like the chameleons.
"Pathfinder" by Alan Douglas
Down pounced the bird of prey and seized one in his talons.
"Stories of Animal Sagacity" by W.H.G. Kingston
Even young wolves sometimes become his prey.
"The Young Voyageurs" by Mayne Reid
It is not their custom to free their prey, at least without a heavy ransom.
"Monte-Cristo's Daughter" by Edmund Flagg
Miner making "big strike" almost sure prey of professional gamblers.
"The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52" by Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe
For two hours Godfrey was a prey to alternating emotions more easy to indicate than to describe.
"Godfrey Morgan" by Jules Verne

In poetry:

The word of God my heart dismays,
The word e'en on my vitals preys —
The word is to my soul a snare —
The word e'en drives me to despair.
"The Complaint And The Advice Of Dives, To His Five Brethren, (Part 2­), Or A Description Of Hell, An" by Rees Prichard
GODS of the desert! you are they
We shun from childhood's earliest breath;
Our passing joys are but your prey;
You wait the hours from birth to death.
"Silence And Solitude" by Annie Adams Fields
A bloody, butchering, and murd'rous crew,
Whom void of all humanity he knew,
He sent the children all around to slay,
Rather than Christ shou'd not become his prey.
"The Life And Death Of Christ" by Rees Prichard
Himself, man to save, a pure victim he gave,
Lest to Satan a prey we shou'd fall,
Whose head he made feel the full weight of his heel;
But sav'd his own followers all.
"An Exhortation To Worship Our Lord Jesus Christ" by Rees Prichard
"Of folly studious, even of vices vain,
Ah, vices gilded by the rich and gay!
I chased the guileless daughters of the plain,
Nor dropp'd the chase till Jessy was my prey.
"Elegy XXVI. Describing the Sorrow of An Ingeneous Mind" by William Shenstone
Zeal without Meekness, like a ship at sea,
To rising storms may soon become a prey;
And Meekness without Zeal is still the same,
When a dead calm stops ev'ry sailor's aim.
"Epigram II." by John Byrom

In news:

Con artists prey on tenants, landlords alike, officials warn.
The club members raise anywhere from 30 to 50 pigeons , and generally lose about one third of them a year to birds of prey.
But as in any other business, there are also some who prey on unsuspecting taxpayers.
Kuna famous for beautiful birds of prey.
He fell prey to envy.
This made for an interesting rescue that ultimately saved the bird of prey's life.
A SEVEN-YEAR effort to return thick-billed parrots to the pine forests of Arizona where they once thrived has failed because birds raised in captivity floundered in the wild, quickly becoming prey for hawks.
The Troll Hunter corners his prey.
As banks have once again returned to making pre-recession profits – thanks mostly to their taxpayer bailout – they're once again preying on the poor with subprime lending.
Seabirds can detect the presence of prey by watching the diving activities of other birds.
DRAPER — Utah National Guard officials warn residents to beware of scammers trying to pose as soldiers and preying on their victims' patriotism.
There is a scam that preys on the emotions of seniors who want nothing more than to ensure the safety of their grandchildren.
Scammers prey on the emotions of grandparents wanting to help their grandchildren.
The wolves had been preying on cattle grazing in the area.
Don't let South Maui fall prey to greedy developers.

In science:

Then we can extend αW t to a definable isotopy ˜αW t , 0 ≤ t ≤ 1, of Y − (cid:0)(WY − WY ) − (WY − WY )(cid:1) preY , Int σ ⊂ Y − (cid:0)(WY − WY ) − (WY − WY )(cid:1)}, for which it suffices serving {Int σ : σ ∈ K ′ to see the following statement.
PL and differential topology in o-minimal structure
For instance the Holling Type-II functional response is linear for low prey density and saturates for high prey density .
Generalized modeling of ecological population dynamics
Accordingly, fx = 1 in the limit of vanishing prey density and fx = 0 in the limit of infinite prey.
Generalized modeling of ecological population dynamics
In the Amaral-Meyer model the number of prey can be considered as such a measure of fitness.
Biological Evolution and Statistical Physics
In the Amaral-Meyer model, species continue to loose prey until all their prey have become extinct; the rules of the model do not allow a species to escape this fate by adopting a new species as prey.
Biological Evolution and Statistical Physics