Language: Old English
Origin: fedan; related to food


1 verb
feed1 S1 W2 past tense and past participle fed

give food

a) DF to give food to a person or animal:
Have you fed the cat?
feed yourself
She was too weak to feed herself.
feed something to somebody
Several children were feeding bread to the ducks.
feed somebody on/with something
They were fed well on her mother's home cooking.
b) DF to provide enough food for a group of people:
groceries to feed a family of five
The prison is required to feed and clothe the prisoners.


[transitive]HBP to give a special substance to a plant, which helps it grow:
Feed the tomatoes once a week.
feed something with something
Feed houseplants with a liquid fertiliser.


[intransitive]HB if a baby or an animal feeds, they eat:
Frogs generally feed at night.
Let your baby feed as long as she wants.


DF having plenty of food or not enough food:
a well-dressed, well-fed woman


[transitive always + adverb/preposition] to put information into a computer over a period of time
feed something into something
Figures are fed into the computer, which then predicts the likely profit.

supply something

[transitive] to supply something, especially a liquid, gas, or electricity:
The public baths are fed by natural springs.
feed something to something
The sound is fed directly to the headphones.
feed something with something
Laura crouched by the fire, feeding it with dry sticks.

put something into something

[transitive] to put something into something else, especially gradually and through a small hole
feed something into/through something
A tube was fed down the patient's throat into her stomach.
feed something into something
She fed her last two coins into the machine for a cup of coffee.
Shelton fed the electricity meter.

increase emotion

[transitive] to increase the strength of an emotion, desire etc:
Her depression grew, fed by her bitter experiences.

feed an addiction/need etc

to satisfy a strong need, such as a need for a drug:
He committed both crimes to feed his addiction to heroin.


[transitive] to give someone information or ideas over a period time
feed somebody with something
She feeds the media with stories, which is a way of getting free advertising.
feed something to somebody
US intelligence had been feeding false information to a KGB agent.


[transitive] to throw or hit a ball to someone else on your team, especially so that they can make a point
feed something to somebody
He fed the ball to Jol, who scored.

feed lines/jokes to somebody

AP to say things to another performer so that they can make jokes

feed your face

informal to eat a lot of food [= stuff yourself]


[transitive] to send a television or radio programme somewhere so that it can be broadcast

feed somebody a line

informal to tell someone something which is not true, so that they will do what you want

feed back

phrasal verb
to give advice or criticism to someone about something they have done
feed back on
We're just waiting for the manager to feed back on it.
feed something ↔ back (to somebody)
I am grateful to all those who fed back their comments.
They feed back to the government the reactions of the people affected.

feed into something

phrasal verb
to have an effect on something or help to make it happen:
The influence of Italian designer fashion feeds into sports fashion.

feed off something

phrasal verb
1HBA if an animal feeds off something, it gets food from it:
birds that feed off the seeds from trees
2 to use something to increase, become stronger, or succeed - sometimes used to show disapproval:
fad diets that feed off our desire to be thin

feed on something

phrasal verb
1HBA if an animal feeds on a particular food, it usually eats that food:
Owls feed on mice and other small animals.
2 if a feeling or process feeds on something, it becomes stronger because of it:
Prejudice feeds on ignorance.

feed somebody up

phrasal verb
DF to give someone a lot of food to make them more healthy [= fatten up American English]

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