Definition of devour in English:



[with object]
  • 1Eat (food or prey) hungrily or quickly.

    ‘he devoured half of his burger in one bite’
    • ‘He helped himself to a slice of bread and cheese and devoured the food hungrily.’
    • ‘We welcomed the range of foreign foods on offer, devouring pizza, curry and Thai greedily.’
    • ‘The pair told how not only was the bigger, stronger grey squirrel devouring food sources the red, and its offspring, needed to survive, it was also carrying the Parapox virus which was fatal to reds.’
    • ‘A snake has to shed its skin; a snake has to devour its prey.’
    • ‘The piece of pita bread lay untouched as we devoured the food.’
    • ‘Finally, after four days of movement, Buck grows tired of the chase and drags the moose to the ground, finishing him off and devouring his meat hungrily.’
    • ‘Predators, such as ladybugs and assassin bugs, devour their prey.’
    • ‘He devoured some duck and turkey cat food while I administered a flea treatment, because he was starting to look ropey again.’
    • ‘Remember the population bomb, the fertility explosion set to devour the world's food and suck up or pollute all its air and water?’
    • ‘The venom did its work in three or four minutes; the reptile then slowly devoured its prey whole.’
    • ‘To think that she used to devour junk food at a whim.’
    • ‘Instead, his mouth curved into a smile, resembling a wolf just before devouring his prey.’
    • ‘The wasp larvae that hatch out devour their prey from the inside out, killing the egg or caterpillar in the process.’
    • ‘As we settled down to supper, devouring the food hungrily, the front door slammed open.’
    • ‘In New Zealand they weigh in at less than half a pound but can devour any prey as large as they are and eat eggs two-and-a-half inches long.’
    • ‘Nietzsche illustrates the dynamics of the strong valuation with an infamous image of birds of prey devouring defenseless lambs.’
    • ‘None of the children wanted the chocolates and all quickly devoured the jellied candy.’
    • ‘Sudalai Madan, who devours non-vegetarian food after consuming litres of arrack or toddy has to content himself with the sweet prepared by them.’
    • ‘The men saw no problem in hitting the food tables and creatively devouring their pizza in a kind of pseudo-seal eating motion.’
    • ‘And why do these kids always arrive at 5pm and ready to devour any food in sight?’
    eat hungrily, eat quickly, eat greedily, eat heartily, eat up, swallow, gobble, gobble down, gobble up, guzzle, guzzle down, gulp, gulp down, bolt, bolt down, cram down, gorge oneself on, wolf, wolf down, feast on, consume
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    1. 1.1 (of fire or a similar force) destroy completely.
      ‘the hungry flames devoured the old house’
      • ‘Months in the planning, the Gin Flat fire behaved beautifully, devouring a thick carpet of needles and big swaths of brush.’
      • ‘And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.’
      • ‘She hit the Platters rocks, close to the shore just west of the suspension bridge, and a fire devoured what remained above the water.’
      • ‘She needed only to get a few yards out before being able to see the flames hungrily devour her house.’
      • ‘In less than half an hour, the flames devoured four buildings.’
      • ‘He stood unmoving, watching the parchment crackle, seeing the last of his life's work devoured by flames, and felt nothing.’
      • ‘It creeps in gradually enveloping the earth, devouring the last traces of the struggling dusk.’
      • ‘Standing by the fireplace in his living room, Frank stares at the flames as they devour the torn pieces of his wedding photograph.’
      • ‘Leaning over, she scatters the remains of the card into the fireplace, watching the flames devour it and leave behind only ashes.’
      • ‘Flames roared as they devoured the city and all of the people living within it.’
      • ‘With the power out, the only light in the subbasements was cast by the spear points of flame, devouring overturned cars and office debris.’
      • ‘What I didn't know was then as each one ran out, Matt was chucking them onto the roaring bonfire to be devoured by the flames.’
      • ‘A child and his father watch helplessly as the Bhagirathi waters slowly devour Old Tehri town.’
      • ‘He took one last long look at the woman he had once loved and watched stoically as she was devoured by hungry tongues of flame.’
      • ‘It also destroys cities, devours forests and snuffs out lives.’
      • ‘Jada tossed the half smoked cigarette onto the ground, and the hungry dust devoured it.’
      • ‘I let him think while the candle devoured my envelope.’
      • ‘I asked frantically as I stared at the giant flames that were devouring her home.’
      • ‘It is an abstraction of the process of fire devouring the turf and many colours are seen when looking up at the glass.’
      • ‘The fire crackled as it devoured the leaves and wood.’
      destroy, consume, engulf, envelop, demolish, lay waste, wipe out, annihilate, devastate
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  • 2Read quickly and eagerly.

    ‘she spent her evenings devouring the classics’
    • ‘My academic studies were also very influential - I devoured Faulkner and Shakespeare, and I love their penchants for violence and suspense.’
    • ‘I'll hop in, devour a couple of Penguin classics, and emerge further up the road as the most learned freeloader in Argyll.’
    • ‘He read Aristotle, Plato, Marx and Lenin and devoured both great European novels and contemporary pulp fiction in binges of late-night reading.’
    • ‘Amanda read the pamphlet with great interest, devouring every word and photograph.’
    • ‘I devoured the two issues, and my husband read them as well.’
    • ‘He also devours books, getting through six on his last holiday.’
    • ‘Journalism had taken form, and the public eagerly devoured newspaper accounts of war, foreign and domestic.’
    • ‘I used to devour my copies of Swimming World and read about how my competitors were doing, so when I got to the meet, I knew exactly what to expect from them.’
    • ‘I enjoyed the episodic structure, bringing back memories of the compilation books comprised of the classic strips that I used to devour as a child.’
    • ‘So powerful was Doc's association of reading with eating, that he not only devoured books as a boy, but he also voraciously read cereal boxes if the paper was not at hand.’
    • ‘I devoured this book guiltily one weekend when I was a rather rude houseguest.’
    • ‘The semi-annual issuance of the INFORMANT was eagerly awaited, and serious players literally devoured its contents from cover to cover.’
    • ‘I was so eager to share the Little House with Eliza that I introduced that world to her at a much earlier age than I was at my first meeting, reading aloud the books I had devoured on my own.’
    • ‘People who in other countries would read light novels and popular magazines devoured works on art, science, history, and above all philosophy.’
    • ‘But all the while he was religiously devouring the books of the physics masters.’
    • ‘Perhaps it's best if I just do things at my own pace - after all, even though I don't read so many books these days, I probably devour more words each day than I ever have before.’
    • ‘His literate sense of the handgun equates to a read you will find yourself devouring as you would a fine steak at a world-class eatery.’
    • ‘In fairness, I was caught up in this book and wanted to devour it as if I hadn't had anything to read but comic books for a year.’
    • ‘She had been watching Hawthorne devour an old Golf Digest Magazine while on a long bus ride.’
    • ‘Apathy was probably the word she learned in school that day or had read in the latest book she was devouring.’
    peruse, study, scrutinize, look through
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  • 3be devouredBe totally absorbed by a powerful feeling.

    ‘she was devoured by need’
    • ‘Fearing I would soon be totally devoured, I broke away from a pash for the second time in the space of about half an hour - surely a new record.’
    • ‘Then give yourself permission to stop worrying about things you can't control, so you won't be devoured by fear.’
    afflict, torture, plague, bedevil, trouble, harrow, rack
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Middle English: from Old French devorer, from Latin devorare, from de- ‘down’ + vorare ‘to swallow’.