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See also: maneater


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man-eater (plural man-eaters)

  1. An animal that attacks and kills humans for food, such as certain tigers or sharks; any animal that consumes human flesh.
    • 1776, Thomas Boston, The Human Nature in its Fourfold State, page 336:
      And particularly, he knows where to find the primitive substance of the man eater: howsoever evaporate or reduced, as it were, into air or vapour, by sweat or perspiration.
    • 1983, Richard Ellis, The Book of Sharks, Knopf, →ISBN, page 146:
      Man-eaters are more newsworthy than three-foot-long harmless sharks with tiny teeth.
  2. A cannibal; a human that eats other humans.
    • 1724, Thomas Salmon, Modern History, Or, The Present State of All Nations, page 287:
      For how a race of Man-eaters should spring up in these islands, when none of the nations on the continents from whence they must derive their original are charged with these savage customs, is not easy to conceive[.]
    • 1827 February 2, The Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser, page 2, column 2:
      A stout ferocious-looking fellow, with muscular bandy legs, came in as I was conversing on the subject of cannibalism, and was pointed out to me as a celebrated marksman and man eater.
  3. (by extension, slang) A seductive dangerous woman, often readily taking and discarding male romantic partners.
    Synonyms: femme fatale; see also Thesaurus:vamp
    Coordinate term: lady-killer
    • 1945, Norman Lindsay, The Cousin from Fiji, page 233:
      "That only proves she has affairs with them too. She's a man-eater."
    • 1982, Hall & Oates (lyrics and music), “Maneater”, in H2O:
      Watch out, boy, she'll chew you up / (Oh-oh, here she comes) / She's a maneater

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