Definition of eat verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; iːt
; eɪt
; eɪt
; ˈiːtn
1 [intransitive, transitive] to put food in your mouth, chew it and swallow itI was too nervous to eat.She doesn't eat sensibly (= doesn't eat food that is good for her).eat something I don't eat meat.Would you like something to eat?I couldn't eat another thing (= I have had enough food).2 [intransitive] to have a mealWhere shall we eat tonight?We ate at a pizzeria in town.

eat somebody alive

(informal)1 to criticize or punish somebody severely because you are extremely angry with themHe'll eat you alive if he ever finds out.2 to defeat somebody completely in an argument, a competition, etcThe defence lawyers are going to eat you alive tomorrow.3 [usually passive] (of insects, etc.) to bite somebody many timesI was being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

eat, drink and be merry

(saying) said to encourage somebody to enjoy life now, while they can, and not to think of the future

eat your heart out!

(informal) used to compare two things and say that one of them is betterLook at him dance! Eat your heart out, Fred Astaire (= he dances even better than Fred Astaire).

eat your heart out (for somebody/something)

(especially British English) to feel very unhappy, especially because you want somebody/something you cannot haveI'm not going to mope at home, eating my heart out for some man.

eat humble pie

(British English) (North American English eat crow) to say and show that you are sorry for a mistake that you made From a pun on the old word umbles, meaning ‘offal’, which was considered to be food for poor people.

eat like a horse

(informal) to eat a lotShe may be thin, but she eats like a horse.

eat out of your/somebody's hand

to trust somebody and be willing to do what they say
She'll have them eating out of her hand in no time.

eat somebody out of house and home

(informal, often humorous) to eat a lot of somebody else's foodHow much longer is he staying? He's eating us out of house and home.

eat your words

to admit that what you said was wrong

I could eat a horse

(informal) used to say that you are very hungry

I'll eat my hat

(informal) used to say that you think something is very unlikely to happenIf she's here on time, I'll eat my hat!

what's eating him, etc?

(informal) used to ask what somebody is annoyed or worried about
more at have your cake and eat it (too) at cake n., (a case of) dog eat dog at dog n.
Phrasal verbs

eat something away

to reduce or destroy something gradually
The coastline is being eaten away year by year.

eat away at something/somebody

1 to reduce or destroy something graduallyWoodworm had eaten away at the door frame.His constant criticism ate away at her self-confidence.2 to worry somebody over a period of timeThe thought of her child left helpless and alone ate away at her.

eat into something

1 to use up a part of something, especially somebody's money or timeThose repair bills have really eaten into my savings.2 to destroy or damage the surface of somethingRust had eaten into the metal.

eat out

to have a meal in a restaurant, etc. rather than at homeDo you feel like eating out tonight?

eat up


eat something up

to eat all of somethingEat up! We've got to go out soon.Come on. Eat up your potatoes.

eat somebody up

[usually passive] to fill somebody with a particular emotion so that they cannot think of anything elseShe was eaten up by regrets.

eat something up

to use something in large quantitiesLegal costs had eaten up all the savings she had.
Usage noteUsage note: Diet and exerciseWeightput on/gain/lose weight/a few kilos/a few poundswatch/control/struggle with your weightbe/become seriously overweight/underweightbe/become clinically/morbidly obeseachieve/facilitate/promote/stimulate weight lossslim down to 70 kilos/(British English) 11 stone/(especially North American English) 160 poundscombat/prevent/tackle/treat obesitydevelop/have/suffer from/struggle with/recover from anorexia/bulimia/an eating disorderbe on/go on/follow a crash/strict diethave/suffer from a negative/poor body imagehave/develop a positive/healthy body imageHealthy eatingeat a balanced diet/healthily/sensiblyget/provide/receive adequate/proper nutritioncontain/get/provide essential nutrients/vitamins/mineralsbe high/low in calories/fat/fibre/(especially US) fiber/protein/vitamin D/Omega-3 fatty acidscontain (no)/use/be full of/be free from additives/chemical preservatives/artificial sweetenersavoid/cut down on/cut out alcohol/caffeine/fatty foodsstop/give up/(especially North American English) quit smokingExercise(British English) take regular exercisedo moderate/strenuous/vigorous exerciseplay football/hockey/tennisgo cycling/jogging/runninggo to/visit/(especially North American English) hit/work out at the gymstrengthen/tone/train your stomach musclescontract/relax/stretch/use/work your lower-body musclesbuild (up)/gain muscleimprove/increase your stamina/energy levels/physical fitnessburn/consume/expend caloriesStaying healthybe/get/keep/stay healthy/in shape/(especially British English) fitlower your cholesterol/blood pressureboost/stimulate/strengthen your immune systemprevent/reduce the risk of heart disease/high blood pressure/diabetes/osteoporosisreduce/relieve/manage/combat stressenhance/promote relaxation/physical and mental well-being