Definition of prey noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//preɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//preɪ//
    [uncountable, singular]
    jump to other results
  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) Wordfinderchase, falconry, game, hunt, open season, pack, poach, prey, safari, trail 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/​harbour (especially US English) harbor bacteria/​a virus kill/​destroy/​eliminate harmful/​deadly bacteria
  2. 2a person who is harmed or tricked by somebody, especially for dishonest purposes Elderly people are easy prey for dishonest salesmen.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English (also denoting plunder taken in war): the noun from Old French preie, from Latin praeda ‘booty’, the verb from Old French preier, based on Latin praedari ‘seize as plunder’, from praeda.Extra examples Teenagers are easy prey for unscrupulous drug dealers. The new government has fallen prey to corruption and fraud. The young deer are ideal prey for the leopard. They watched a hawk swoop down on its unsuspecting prey. a cat pouncing on its preyIdioms
      be/fall prey to something (formal)
      jump to other results
    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 American Dictionary entry: prey