- To take into the body by the mouth for digestion or absorption. (verb-transitive)
- To take in and absorb as food: a plant that eats insects; a cell that eats bacteria. (verb-transitive)
- To include habitually or by preference in one's diet: a bird that eats insects, fruit, and seeds; stopped eating red meat on advice from her doctor. (verb-transitive)
- To destroy, ravage, or use up by or as if by ingesting: "Covering news in the field eats money” ( George F. Will). (verb-transitive)
- To erode or corrode: waves that ate away the beach; an acid that eats the surface of a machine part. (verb-transitive)
American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.