Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1600-1700
Origin: scavenger (16-21 centuries), from scavager 'tax collector, someone who cleans streets' (15-19 centuries), from scavage 'tax on goods sold' (15-19 centuries), from Old North French escauwage 'examination'

scavenge

verb
     
Related topics: Animals
scav‧enge [intransitive and transitive]
1HBA if an animal scavenges, it eats anything that it can find:
Pigs scavenged among the rubbish.
scavenge for
rats scavenging for food
2 if someone scavenges, they search through things that other people do not want for food or useful objects:
There are people who live in the dump and scavenge garbage for a living.
scavenge for
Women were scavenging for old furniture.
scavenger noun [countable]
Foxes and other scavengers go through the dustbins.

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