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PIE root

From Middle English eten, from Old English etan ‎(to eat), from Proto-Germanic *etaną ‎(to eat), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ed- ‎(to eat). Cognate with Scots aet ‎(to eat), Saterland Frisian iete ‎(to eat), West Frisian ite ‎(to eat), Low German eten ‎(to eat), Dutch eten ‎(to eat), German essen ‎(to eat), Swedish äta ‎(to eat), Danish æde ‎(to eat), and more distantly with Latin edō ‎(eat, verb), Ancient Greek ἔδω ‎(édō), Russian есть ‎(jestʹ, to eat), and Lithuanian ėsti.



eat ‎(third-person singular simple present eats, present participle eating, simple past ate or (dialectal) et or (obsolete) eat, past participle eaten)

  1. To ingest; to be ingested.
    1. (transitive, intransitive) 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?
      • 1893, Walter Besant, The Ivory Gate, chapter II:
        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.
      • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
        But Richmond [] appeared to lose himself in his own reflections. Some pickled crab, which he had not touched, had been removed with a damson pie; and his sister saw [] that he had eaten no more than a spoonful of that either.
    2. (intransitive) To consume a meal.
      What time do we eat this evening?
    3. (intransitive, ergative) To be eaten.
      The soup that eats like a meal.
  2. To use up.
    1. (transitive) To destroy, consume, or use up.
      This project is eating up all the money.
    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.
    3. (transitive, informal, of a vending machine or similar device) To consume money or (other instruents 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.
      • From the movie Slap Shot
        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.
    It’s a special order, so we can’t send it back; if the customer won’t accept it, we’ll have to eat the forty tons of steel ourselves.
    • From the movie Midnight Run
      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, intransitive) To corrode or erode.
    The acid rain ate away the statue.  The strong acid eats through the metal.
  6. (transitive, informal, vulgar) To perform oral sex on someone.
    Eat me!



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]


Most common English words before 1923: modern · medium · ill · #842: eat · et · scene · hot





  1. third-person singular present active subjunctive of

Northern Sami[edit]



  1. first-person plural present of ii

West Frisian[edit]




  1. something, anything