• (British) IPA: /iːt/
  • (America) IPA: /it/

eat (eats, present participle eating; past ate, past participle eaten)

  1. To ingest; to be ingested.
    1. (ambitransitive) To consume (something solid or semi-solid, usually food) by putting it into the mouth and swallowing it.
      He’s eating an apple. / Don’t disturb me now; can't you see that I’m eating?
      • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter II, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
        At twilight in the summer there is never anybody to fear—man, woman, or cat—in the chambers and at that hour the mice come out. They do not eat parchment or foolscap or red tape, but they eat the luncheon crumbs.
    2. (intransitive) To consume a meal.
      What time do we eat this evening?
      • 2016, [ VOA Learning English] (public domain)
        I eat in the kitchen.
    3. (intransitive, ergative) To be eaten.
      It's a soup that eats like a meal.
      • 1852, The New Monthly Magazine (page 310)
        I don't know any quarter in England where you get such undeniable mutton—mutton that eats like mutton, instead of the nasty watery, stringy, turnipy stuff, neither mutton nor lamb, that other countries are inundated with.
      • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard
        […] dish him [the fish] with slices of oranges, barberries, grapes, gooseberries, and butter; and you will find that he eats deliriously either with farced pain or gammon pain.
  2. To use up.
    1. (transitive) To destroy, consume, or use up.
      This project is eating up all the money.
      • His wretched estate is eaten up with mortgages.
    2. (transitive, informal, of a device) To damage, destroy, or fail to eject a removable part or an inserted object.
      The VHS recorder just ate the tape and won't spit it out.
      John is late for the meeting because the photocopier ate his report.
      • 1991, Shane Black, The Last Boy Scout (movie)
        No! There's a problem with the cassette player. Don't press fast forward or it eats the tape!
    3. (transitive, informal, of a vending machine or similar device) To consume money (or other instruments of value, such as a token) deposited or inserted by a user, while failing to either provide the intended product or service, or return the payment.
      The video game in the corner just ate my quarter.
      • 1977, Nancy Dowd, Slap Shot (film) (movie)
        Hey! This stupid [soda vending] machine ate my quarter.
  3. (transitive, informal) To cause (someone) to worry.
    What’s eating you?
  4. (transitive, business) To take the loss in a transaction.
    • 1988, George Gallo, Midnight Run (movie)
      I have to have him in court tomorrow, if he doesn't show up, I forfeit the bond and I have to eat the $300,000.
  5. (transitive, slang) To be injured or killed by (something such as a firearm or its projectile), especially in the mouth.
    • 1997, A. A. Gill, "Diary" (in The Spectator, 1 November 1997):
      Friends are only necessary in the ghastly country, where you have to have them, along with rubber boots and a barometer and secateurs, to put off bucolic idiocy, a wet brain, or eating the 12-bore.
    • 2012, Kaya McLaren, How I Came to Sparkle Again: A Novel, St. Martin's Press (ISBN 9781250017031):
      Mike had been to other calls where someone had eaten a gun. He knew to expect teeth embedded in the ceiling and brains dripping off it.
    • 2017, Edward W. Robertson, Stardust, Edward W. Robertson:
      The animal was sweating and scared and MacAdams was surprised when they finished up without either of them eating a kick.
    • 2018, Daniel Tomazic, Of Bullies and Men: Young Adult Fiction (ISBN 9783748182115), page 18:
      There was a resounding smacking noise and Georgy was sure Philip had just eaten a fist.
  6. (ambitransitive) To corrode or erode.
    The acid rain ate away the statue.  The strong acid eats through the metal.
  7. (transitive, slang) To perform oral sex (on a person or body part).
    Eat me!
    I ate his ass.
    Yeah, eat that dick / eat that pussy.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Noun

eat (plural eats)

  1. (colloquial) Something to be eaten; a meal; a food item.
    • 2011, William Chitty, ‎Nigel Barker, ‎Michael Valos, Integrated Marketing Communications (page 167)
      Eating a Picnic creates a flurry of wafer pieces, flying peanuts and chocolate crumbs. […] As well as being messy, Picnic happens to be a big eat – something of a consumption challenge in fact.

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