Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

prey

2 verb
     
prey2

prey on somebody/something

phrasal verb
1HBA if an animal or bird preys on another animal or bird, it hunts and eats it [↪ predator]:
Cats prey on birds and mice.
2 to try to deceive or harm weaker people:
religious cults that specialize in preying on young people
3

prey on somebody's mind

to make someone worry continuously:
The accident has been preying on my mind all week.

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