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See also: Feed


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  • IPA(key): /ˈfiːd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːd

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English feden, from Old English fēdan (to feed), from Proto-West Germanic *fōdijan, from Proto-Germanic *fōdijaną (to feed), from Proto-Indo-European *peh₂- (to guard, graze, feed). Cognate with West Frisian fiede (to nourish, feed), Dutch voeden (to feed), Danish føde (to bring forth, feed), Swedish föda (to bring forth, feed), Icelandic fæða (to feed), and more distantly with Latin pāscō (feed, nourish, verb) through Indo-European. More at food, fodder.


feed (third-person singular simple present feeds, present participle feeding, simple past and past participle fed)

  1. (transitive) To give (someone or something) food to eat.
    Feed the dog every evening.
  2. (intransitive) To eat (usually of animals).
    Spiders feed on gnats and flies.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], OCLC 752825175:
      But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ [] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window at the old mare feeding in the meadow below by the brook, and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, [].
    • 1983, Richard Ellis, The Book of Sharks, Knopf, →ISBN, page 89:
      While feeding, the basking shark swims at about two knots per hour, and this enables it to eat and breathe in the same motion.
  3. (ditransitive) To give (someone or something) to (someone or something else) as food.
    Feed the fish to the dolphins.
    • 2012 December 25 (airdate), Steven Moffat, The Snowmen (Doctor Who)
      DR SIMEON: I said I'd feed you. I didn't say who to.
  4. (transitive) To give to a machine to be processed.
    Feed the paper gently into the document shredder.
    We got interesting results after feeding the computer with the new data.
  5. (figuratively) To satisfy, gratify, or minister to (a sense, taste, desire, etc.).
  6. To supply with something.
    Springs feed ponds with water.
  7. To graze; to cause to be cropped by feeding, as herbage by cattle.
    If grain is too forward in autumn, feed it with sheep.
    • 1707, J[ohn] Mortimer, The Whole Art of Husbandry; or, The Way of Managing and Improving of Land. [], 2nd edition, London: [] J[ohn] H[umphreys] for H[enry] Mortlock [], and J[onathan] Robinson [], published 1708, OCLC 13320837:
      Once in three years, or every other year, feed your mowing-lands.
  8. (sports, transitive) To pass to.
    • 2010 December 28, Kevin Darlin, “West Brom 1-3 Blackburn”, in BBC:
      Morrison then played a pivotal role in West Brom's equaliser, powering through the middle and feeding Tchoyi, whose low, teasing right-wing cross was poked in by Thomas at the far post
  9. (phonology, of a phonological rule) To create the environment where another phonological rule can apply; to be applied before another rule.
    Nasalization feeds raising.
  10. (syntax, of a syntactic rule) To create the syntactic environment in which another syntactic rule is applied; to be applied before another syntactic rule.
    • 1983, Arnold M. Zwicky; Geoffrey K. Pullum, “Cliticization vs. Inflection: English N'T”, in Language, volume 59, number 3, JSTOR 413900, page 506:
      This orthodox analysis [] leads to the conclusion that [] Subject–Auxiliary Inversion (SAI) is fed by the contraction operation.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English fede, fed, from the verb (see above).


feed (countable and uncountable, plural feeds)

  1. (uncountable) Food given to; (especially herbivorous) non-human animals.
    Coordinate term: fodder
    They sell feed, riding helmets, and everything else for horses.
  2. Something supplied continuously.
    a satellite feed
  3. The part of a machine, that supplies the material to be operated upon.
    Coordinate term: hopper
    the paper feed of a printer
  4. The forward motion of the material fed into a machine.
    Coordinate terms: speed, speeds and feeds
  5. (UK, Australia, New Zealand, colloquial, countable) A meal.
    • 184?, Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor
      One proposed going to Hungerford-market to do a feed on decayed shrimps or other offal laying about the market; another proposed going to Covent-garden to do a 'tightener' of rotten oranges, to which I was humorously invited; []
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 257:
      "There won't be any more blessed concerts for a million years or so; there won't be any Royal Academy of Arts, and no nice little feeds at restaurants."
  6. (countable) A gathering to eat, especially in large quantities. Synonyms: feast
    They held a crab feed on the beach.
  7. (Internet) Encapsulated online content, such as news or a blog, that can be subscribed to.
    I've subscribed to the feeds of my favourite blogs, so I can find out when new posts are added without having to visit those sites.
    • 2016 March 15, Mike Isaac, “Instagram May Change Your Feed, Personalizing It With an Algorithm”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Refresh the top of your various “feeds” — the running column of content on some versions of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — and you will see the latest news at the top. The further back you scroll, the older the material gets.
    • 2020 November 24, Charlie Warzel, “What Facebook Fed the Baby Boomers”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Despite spending years studying these toxic dynamics and the better part of a month watching them up close in strangers’ feeds, I was still, like so many, surprised to see it all reflected at the ballot box. We shouldn’t have been surprised; our divisions have been in front of our faces and inside our feeds this whole time.
  8. A straight man who delivers lines to the comedian during a performance.
    • 2020, Oliver Double, Alternative Comedy: 1979 and the Reinvention of British Stand-Up (page 38)
      Don Ward is often described as a former comic, having some experience in this area as a young man, acting as a feed for the comic actor David Lodge at Parkins Holiday Camp in Jersey []
Derived terms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]