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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), West Frisian ite, 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 (edō), Russian есть (jest', to eat), and Lithuanian ėsti.



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

  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?
  2. (transitive) To consume a meal.
    What time do we eat this evening?
  3. (intransitive, ergative) To be eaten.
    The soup that eats like a meal.
  4. (transitive) To destroy, consume, or use up.
    This project is eating up all the money.
    • Thackeray
      His wretched estate is eaten up with mortgages.
  5. (transitive, informal) To cause (someone) to worry.
    What’s eating you?
  6. (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.
    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 – From the movie Midnight Run
  7. (transitive, intransitive) To corrode or erode.
    The acid rain ate away the statue.
    The strong acid eats through the metal.
  8. (transitive, informal, of an 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.
    No! There's a problem with the cassette player. Don't press fast forward or it eats the tape! - Bruce Willis in the movie The Last Boy Scout
  9. (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.
    Hey! This stupid [soda vending] machine ate my quarter. - From the movie Slap Shot
  10. (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]






  1. third-person singular present active subjunctive of

West Frisian[edit]




  1. something, anything