Definition of carnivorous in English:



  • 1(of an animal) feeding on other animals.

    • ‘Researchers have unearthed fossil evidence of a new species of ancient crocodile that had a head like a carnivorous dinosaur and a tail like a fish.’
    • ‘Some molluscs are carnivorous, and are secondary consumers in their aquatic ecosystems.’
    • ‘All cephalopods are carnivorous, feeding primarily on fish, other mollusks, Crustacea, and worms.’
    • ‘The carnivorous species eat small vertebrates: fish, frogs, lizards, birds, mice, or other bats.’
    • ‘Several bones of carnivorous dinosaurs with tooth marks on them from other meat-eating dinosaurs have been found in Alberta, Canada.’
    • ‘It is the largest carnivorous mammal ever to have lived in Australia and the largest known marsupial carnivore in the world.’
    • ‘Birds evolved from reptiles, probably small carnivorous dinosaurs, around 150 million years ago.’
    • ‘If a pack of carnivorous mammals were to chase a lone prey animal into the tar pits, both predators and prey would become trapped.’
    • ‘Much fossil evidence has been uncovered supporting the idea that birds evolved from a group of bipedal carnivorous dinosaurs called theropods.’
    • ‘These colorful, carnivorous amphibians feed heavily on both terrestrial and aquatic insects, small invertebrates, and their eggs and larvae.’
    • ‘For example, Heinrich's work with ravens shows that the carnivorous birds will store bits of meat only for the short term.’
    • ‘Most of these turtles are carnivorous, feeding on mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic insects, fish, and amphibians.’
    • ‘Yellow and Silver eels are primarily nocturnal carnivorous feeders, consuming insects, crustaceans, clams, worms, fish and frogs.’
    • ‘These fish are carnivorous and eat a variety of small animals including insects, crustaceans, and worms.’
    • ‘Throughout Africa and southern Asia monitors coexist successfully with a wide range of carnivorous mammals.’
    • ‘After about two weeks the eggs hatch, and minute, carnivorous larvae emerge.’
    • ‘Like herbivorous cattle fed meat, carnivorous fish are now largely vegetarians.’
    • ‘Some carnivorous dinosaurs routinely fed on their own species, according to an analysis of scarred fossils.’
    • ‘Puppies between the ages of three and six months are most susceptible to the disease, although older dogs and other carnivorous mammals can also contract distemper.’
    • ‘Creodonts are an extinct group of carnivorous mammals that were long thought to be the ancestors of modern Carnivora.’
    meat-eating, flesh-eating, predatory, of prey, hunting, raptorial
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    1. 1.1 (of a plant) able to trap and digest small animals, especially insects.
      • ‘Then, representing the dark side of horticulture, there are a fair few carnivorous plants that are surprisingly hardy in the garden - Sarracenias.’
      • ‘There's a botanical garden with carnivorous plants on display.’
      • ‘I searched in vain for a patch of sundews, the little carnivorous plants that live in just this kind of environment, so I could show off my meagre botanical knowledge.’
      • ‘I've taken some new steps in gardening today - I've started trying to grow carnivorous plants from seed.’
      • ‘The larvae of several fly species live and breed in the flesh-dissolving pitchers of carnivorous plants, where they feed on the organic soup and remains of the plant's victims.’
      • ‘Purportedly the world's largest collection of carnivorous plants, is open to the public.’
      • ‘A quirky gift for a young gardener might be a carnivorous plant.’
      • ‘And for further simplification, the system in this study also does not include carnivorous and parasitic plants.’
      • ‘Filmed in Japan, this tells the story of mad scientist Dr. Bragan who develops a giant carnivorous plant that walks like a man.’
      • ‘There was also a monkey family, complete with baby, and a tropical house with birds and carnivorous plants.’
      • ‘The toughness of the foliage and the plethora of carnivorous plants are further evidence of a scarcity of nutrients.’
      • ‘I always remembered the programme about carnivorous plants - I think it was on the cover of the Radio Times for that week.’
      • ‘But there's actually nothing unnatural about it; carnivorous plants have existed on this planet for thousands of years.’
      • ‘Because the soil is acidic and infertile, some plants are carnivorous, supplementing their diets by trapping small insects.’
      • ‘The Venus Flytrap is the most famous of all carnivorous plants.’
      • ‘As it turned out, it was a pretty cool garden centre, full of carnivorous plants and little neon blue fish.’
      • ‘One of the most common pairings for a terrarium are carnivorous plants and orchids.’
      • ‘The Venus fly trap is an endemic carnivorous plant growing on sandy soils in the central south-eastern coastal plain of North America.’
      • ‘The best known of all carnivorous plants, the Venus Fly Trap is native to America but these days can be purchased in most nurseries all over the world.’


Late 16th century: from Latin carnivorus, from caro, carn- ‘flesh’ + -vorus (see -vorous).