From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englisheateat /iːt/ ●●● S1 W1 verb (past tense ate /et, eɪt $ eɪt/, past participle eaten /ˈiːtn/) 🔊 🔊 1 food [intransitive, transitive]EAT to put food in your mouth and chew and swallow it 🔊 Felix chatted cheerfully as he ate. 🔊 A small girl was eating an ice cream. 🔊 We had plenty to eat and drink. 🔊 It’s important to eat healthily when you are pregnant. 🔊 I exercise and eat right and get plenty of sleep. 🔊 Would you like something to eat? 🔊 She can eat like a horse and never put on weight. 🔊 We stopped at McDonalds to get a bite to eat. 🔊 Good eating habits are the best way of preventing infection. 🔊 ready-to-eat foods such as deli meats and cheeses 🔊 ‘More cake?’ ‘No thanks, I couldn’t eat another thing.’ 🔊 No chicken for me. I don’t eat meat (=I never eat meat). 🔊 Does Rob eat fish?2 meal [intransitive, transitive]DFDL to have a meal 🔊 Let’s eat first and then go to a movie. 🔊 They’re eating breakfast.eat at 🔊 We could not afford to eat at Walker’s very often.3 → eat your words4 → eat your heart out5 → eat somebody alive/eat somebody for breakfast6 use [transitive]USE/CONSUME to use a very large amount of something 🔊 This car eats petrol.7 → eat humble pie8 → I’ll eat my hat9 → have somebody eating out of your hand10 → eat somebody out of house and home11 → what’s eating sb?12 → I could eat a horse13 → I/we won’t eat you14 → you are what you eat → eats, → have your cake and eat it at cake1(6)COLLOCATIONSnounseat breakfast/lunch/dinner etcWhat time do you usually eat lunch?adverbseat well (=have enough food, or have good food)The people work hard, but they eat well.eat healthily/sensibly (=eat food that will keep you healthy)If you eat healthily and exercise regularly, you’ll look and feel a lot better.eat properly British English, eat right American English (=eat food that will keep you healthy)He hadn’t been eating properly and was drinking far too much.eat hungrily (=eat a lot quickly, because you are very hungry)The children ate hungrily, devouring everything on their plate.eat sparingly (=eat very little)Carter joined us for lunch, but ate sparingly, as he always did.phraseshave something/nothing to eat (=eat something/nothing)We’ll leave after we’ve had something to eat.have enough/plenty etc to eatHave you had enough to eat?have little to eat (=not have enough food)The refugees had very little to eat and no clean water.find something to eatI got dressed and went downstairs to find something to eat.get something to eat (=prepare or buy some food)I’m sure you can get something to eat on the train.somebody’s eating habits (=the kinds of things they eat or drink regularly)The doctor asked me about my eating habits and how much I smoked.an eating disorder (=a mental illness which causes you to eat too much or too little)She described her battle with the eating disorder bulimia.a bite to eat (=a small meal)We should have time for a bite to eat before we set out.eat like a horse (=eat a lot)She eats like a horse but never puts on any weight!eat like a bird (=eat very little)Ever since she was a child, Jan had always eaten like a bird.I couldn’t eat another thing spoken (=used to say that you are completely full)Thanks, that was lovely, but I couldn’t eat another thing.THESAURUSeat to put food in your mouth and chew and swallow itExperts recommend eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.have to eat a particular food‘What do you usually have for breakfast?’ ‘I usually just have coffee and toast.’We had the set meal.feed on something to eat a particular kind of food – used when talking about animalsFoxes feed on a wide range of foods including mice, birds, insects, and fruit. consume written to eat or drink something – used especially in scientific or technical contextsBabies consume large amounts relative to their body weight.munch (on) something to eat something with big continuous movements of your mouth, especially when you are enjoying your foodHe was munching on an apple.They were sitting on a bench munching their sandwiches.nibble (on) something to eat something by biting off very small piecesIf you want a healthy snack, why not just nibble on a carrot?pick at something to eat only a small amount of your food because you are not hungry or do not like the foodLisa was so upset that she could only pick at her food.stuff/gorge yourself to eat so much food that you cannot eat anything elseHe’s always stuffing himself with cakes.We gorged ourselves on my mother’s delicious apple tart. slurp to eat soup, noodles etc with a noisy sucking soundIn England it’s considered rude to slurp your soup, but in some countries it’s seen as a sign of enjoyment.to eat something quicklygobble something up/down informal to eat something very quickly, especially because you like it very much or you are greedyYou’ve gobbled up all the ice-cream!The children gobbled it down in no time.wolf something down informal to eat food quickly, especially because you are very hungry or in a hurryThe boy wolfed down everything on his plate and asked for more.bolt something down British English to eat food very quickly, especially because you are in a hurryHe bolted down his breakfast and was out of the door within 5 minutes.You shouldn’t bolt your food down like that.devour /dɪˈvaʊə $ -ˈvaʊr/ especially written to eat all of something quickly because you are very hungryIn a very short time, the snake had devoured the whole animal.to eat less food or stop eatingbe on a diet to be eating less or different food than normal in order to become thinnerNo cake thanks – I’m on a diet.fast to not eat for a period of time, often for religious reasonsMuslim people fast during the month of Ramadan. → eat something ↔ away → eat away at something/somebody → eat in → eat into something → eat out → eat up→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpuseat• What time do we eat?• I'm not hungry, thanks - I've already eaten.• Hey! - Someone's eaten all my chocolates.• She was sitting on the wall, eating an apple.• I'm so full. I couldn't eat another thing.• We usually eat at seven o'clock.• We ate dinner at around six, then went out.• And in order to eat, I needed customers.• That big old car of mine just eats money.• This was, after all, the ceremony of eating one, not two chips.• We eat out about once a month.• Don't eat so fast - you'll get sick.• I can not eat so much.• I ate some fruit, followed by a tuna sandwich made with solid wholemeal bread and headed for Toby's house.• She forced herself to eat some more dry biscuits and chocolate, washing them down with a small amount of water.• He would eat whatever food was brought him, but took no notice of anyone.• Eat your dinner.eat healthily• Her philosophy on food: you don't need to sacrifice your tastebuds to eat healthily.• I don't want to eat healthily.• We still have to eat healthily.• Within my eating plans I always include foods rich in nutrients to ensure that my dieters eat healthily.• As a safeguard, the group advices pregnant women to eat healthily, cut down on drinking and avoid smoking.