One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘most hoverfly larvae prey on aphids’
hunt, catch, seize
eat, devour, feed on, live on, live off
2‘it is a callous thing to do, to prey on a vulnerable elderly woman’
exploit, victimize, molest, pick on, intimidate, harass, hound, take advantage of
trick, swindle, cheat, hoodwink, fleece
3‘the unfinished Requiem had begun to prey on his mind’
oppress, weigh on, weigh heavily on, lie heavy on, burden, be a burden on, be a burden to, hang over, gnaw at
trouble, worry, beset, disturb, depress, distress, haunt, nag, torment, plague, obsess, take over, take control of
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