American English

Definition of prey noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [uncountable, singular]
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  1. 1an animal, a bird, etc. that is hunted, killed, and eaten by another The lion will often stalk its prey for hours. birds of prey (= birds that kill for food) Topic CollocationsThe Living Worldanimals animals mate/breed/reproduce/feed (on something) fish/amphibians swim/spawn (= lay eggs) birds fly/migrate/nest/sing insects crawl/fly/bite/sting insects/bees/locusts swarm bees collect/gather nectar/pollen spiders spin/weave a web snakes/lizards shed their skins bears/hedgehogs/frogs hibernate insect larvae grow/develop/pupate an egg/a chick/a larva hatches attract/find/choose a mate produce/release eggs/sperm lay/fertilize/incubate/hatch eggs inhabit a forest/a reef/the coast mark/enter/defend (a) territory stalk/hunt/capture/catch/kill preyplants and fungi trees/plants grow/bloom/blossom/flower a seed germinates/sprouts leaves/buds/roots/shoots appear/develop/form flower buds swell/open a fungus grows/spreads/colonizes something pollinate/fertilize a flower/plant produce/release/spread/disperse pollen/seeds/spores produce/bear fruit develop/grow/form roots/shoots/leaves provide/supply/absorb/extract/release nutrients perform/increase/reduce photosynthesisbacteria and viruses bacteria/microbes/viruses grow/spread/multiply bacteria/microbes live/thrive in/on something bacteria/microbes/viruses evolve/colonize something/cause disease bacteria break something down/convert something (into something) a virus enters/invades something/the body a virus mutates/evolves/replicates (itself) be infected with/contaminated with/exposed to a new strain of a virus/drug-resistant bacteria contain/carry/harbor bacteria/a virus kill/destroy/eliminate harmful/deadly bacteria
  2. 2a person who is harmed or tricked by someone, especially for dishonest purposes Elderly people are easy prey for dishonest salesmen.
  3. Idioms
      be/fall prey to something (formal)
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    1. 1(of an animal) to be killed and eaten by another animal or bird Many small birds and rodents fall prey to the domestic cat.
    2. 2(of a person) to be harmed or affected by something bad Since the attack, she had fallen prey to irrational fears.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: prey