Definition of predation in English:



mass noun
  • 1The preying of one animal on others.

    ‘an effective defence against predation’
    • ‘They really only use their strong electric organ discharges for predation and defensive purposes.’
    • ‘Some are accomplished leapers and bounders, avoiding predation by outdistancing the predator.’
    • ‘Field collections of snakes often reveal nonrandom predation upon prey items of different size.’
    • ‘They are subject to intense predation, and maternal defense is their primary means of protection.’
    • ‘To avoid predation, animals show morphological defenses and behavioral modifications.’
  • 2The action of attacking or plundering.

    ‘the old story of male predation and female vulnerability’
    count noun ‘the predations of would-be pirates’
    • ‘In many areas the guerrilla movements protect the producers from both the predations of rival groups and from the military.’
    • ‘And this legal reality doubtless enabled accusers to continue with their predations.’
    • ‘Phase one will refer to the predations of the Neo-Babylonian empire as it sought to quell the Judean rebellions in 597 and between 589-587 BCE.’
    • ‘Other research from the organisation highlights that millions of birds die each year because of cat predations, starvation and the weak and sickly condition of hatchlings.’
    • ‘Our ruling classes are to some degree restrained in their predations.’
    • ‘Two of the three planted last year look a bit sad - the predations of the hens and various sheep haven't helped.’
    • ‘I knew that the governor had acted under pressure from citizens of Onitsha, particularly the market women who had suffered extensive loss of property and life from the thieves' predations.’
    • ‘Rhino ranching has clearly demonstrated how use of a natural resource can benefit both man and the resource itself, without succumbing to the predations of poachers.’
    • ‘Of the 23 predations, 15 were nocturnal, 7 were diurnal, and 1 could not be determined due to equipment failure.’
    • ‘However, they often know very little about these earlier doctrines, which are used by perpetrators to justify their criminal predations.’
    • ‘The adaptation of vertical eyes in smaller fishes may be a response to higher predations on smaller fishes.’
    • ‘This became a necessity in most of the world's wine regions at the end of the 19th century to counter the predations of the phylloxera louse, native to America and to which most American vine species had therefore developed resistance.’
    • ‘They posed as protectors of their local churches against the predations of the invaders; as self-serving as this pose was, the German priests and common people were supportive of it.’
    • ‘Though you are no doubt loathe to abandon your fortune to the predations of robbers you can take heart that if they violate your sanctum they will likely pay for it with their lives.’
    • ‘If he ever really existed (which is possible, but unproven), he must have lived in the fifth century CE, when the Roman empire abandoned Britain to the predations of the vicious Saxon invaders.’


Late 15th century (in the Latin sense): from Latin praedatio(n-) ‘taking of booty’, from the verb praedari ‘seize as plunder’, from praeda ‘booty’. The zoological sense dates from the 1930s.