Definition of predatory in English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others.

    ‘predatory birds’
    • ‘Adam and his team of falconers use predatory birds like gyrfalcons, eagles, and peregrine falcons to clear the air.’
    • ‘Now a recent study suggests that one creature - with a bite that may rival that of most predatory mammals - may have been sorely misjudged.’
    • ‘Effective defense against newly encountered predatory species is clearly one factor that could facilitate establishment of an introduced species.’
    • ‘The predatory species therefore also have short life spans.’
    • ‘If predatory birds expect their prey to fall to the ground, Schmitz and Auliya's argument runs, they would be unlikely to notice a lizard still hanging from a branch.’
    • ‘The leafcutter ants are accountable for 25 per cent of all leaf destruction in the South American rainforests, and predatory ants eat more insects than all other animals put together.’
    • ‘Scientists still aren't clear, for example, whether the birds hunted in packs like velociraptors or individually like large predatory cats.’
    • ‘But predatory birds attack from above, relying on their excellent vision to sight prey during daylight.’
    • ‘Such substances generally are highest in older, larger, and more predatory fish or marine mammals.’
    • ‘Large, predatory mammals form a guild in which competition is expected to be relatively intense.’
    • ‘Mercury then enters the aquatic food chain, becoming more concentrated in higher-level predatory fish.’
    • ‘We also found that one particularly aggressive predatory ant species tended to attack bugs carrying eggs, and gangs of these ants could succeed in killing them.’
    • ‘But those predatory insects that locate prey through chemical sensing are not deterred.’
    • ‘It was probably a bipedal animal, probably predatory, and probably the size of a large dog.’
    • ‘When large fish were excluded, predatory insects and fish fry were freed from predation and more effectively controlled chironomid populations feeding on algae.’
    • ‘Experts believe the extinct birds were meat-eaters because their beaks resemble those of predatory eagles and scavenging vultures.’
    • ‘Several strains and species of predatory nematodes are produced and sold.’
    • ‘Previous studies indicate that expanded brain volume in predatory mammals leaves less room for jaw muscles.’
    • ‘Visibility and distribution of prey and predatory sharks may correlate with water depth.’
    • ‘Mammals and birds in particular developed new forms, whether as fast-running herbivores, large predatory mammals and birds, or small quick birds and rodents.’
    predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial, ravening
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  • 2Seeking to exploit or oppress others.

    ‘a life destroyed by predatory biographers and yellow journalists’
    • ‘Like Pabst's Lulu (but unlike American cinema's predatory noir females), Stasha ignores money and seeks no economic goal.’
    • ‘Belinda Hoare, of Home and Away, portrays the extraordinary lead character, Miss Julie a fallen, desperate, sexually predatory heiress seeking to be saved by love.’
    • ‘The bill also significantly improves protection for society's most vulnerable groups against exploitation by predatory sexual offenders.’
    • ‘I mean, there have been cases of predatory females seeking out young, teenage boys to have their wicked way with…’
    • ‘Unfortunately, predatory adults are already using the recent disaster to exploit these imperiled children.’
    • ‘Describing himself as one of the ‘new princes of corporate feudalism,’ the CEO is corrupt, predatory and greedy.’
    exploitative, wolfish, rapacious, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious, vulturine
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Late 16th century (in the sense relating to plundering): from Latin praedatorius, from praedator plunderer (see predator).