1. to chew and swallow as food; to devour; said especially of food not liquid; as, to eat bread. To eat grass as oxen. They . . . Ate the sacrifices of the dead. (Ps. Cvi. 28) The lean . . . Did eat up the first seven fat kine. (gen. Xli. 20) The lion had not eaten the carcass. (1 kings xiii. 28) With stories told of many a feat, How fairy mab junkets eat. (Milton) The island princes overbold Have eat our substance. (Tennyson) His wretched estate is eaten up with mortgages. (Thackeray)
2. to corrode, as metal, by rust; to consume the flesh, as a cancer; to waste or wear away; to destroy gradually; to cause to disappear. to eat humble pie. See humble. to eat of . Eat of the bread that can not waste. . to eat one’s words, to retract what one has said. (see the Citation under Blurt) to eat out, to consume completely. Eat out the heart and comfort of it. . to eat the wind out of a vessel, to gain slowly to windward of her.
Synonym: to consume, devour, gnaw, corrode.
Origin: oe. Eten, as. Etan; akin to os. Etan, OFries. Eta, D. Eten, OHG. Ezzan, g. Essen, Icel. Eta, Sw. Ata, dan. Aede, goth. Itan, ir.