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prey on (one's) mind

To cause one a lot of worry, concern, or anxiety, especially for a long period of time. I know that money issues have been preying on his mind ever since the company began issuing pay cuts. I really acted like a jerk on Friday night, and it's been preying on my mind all weekend long.
See also: mind, on, prey

fall prey to (someone or something)

To have one's vulnerability exploited by someone or something, leading to harm, destruction, or manipulation; to become a victim of someone or something. It is unfortunately very common for elderly people to fall prey to online scam artists, who take advantage of their lack of technological know-how. Many major cities have fallen prey to terrorist activity in recent months.
See also: fall, prey

prey (up)on (someone or something)

1. To hunt and feed on someone or something. (Said almost exclusively of animals.) Mountain lions have been coming down into town to prey on people's pets. The rare bird preys exclusively on these rats; if the rats are eliminated, the bird will be, too.
2. By extension, to exploit, victimize, or take advantage of someone or something. There are many thieves and con-artists in the city who prey on unsuspecting tourists. These mega corporations are all too willing to prey upon the naïveté of consumers.
See also: prey

prey on something

[for an animal] to feed on another animal as a matter of habit or preference. Owls prey on mice. Many birds prey on snakes.
See also: on, prey

prey (up)on someone or something

Fig. to take advantage of someone or something. (See also prey on something. Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) The people of that island prey on tourists and do not give them good treatment. I really don't want to seem to prey upon your kindness.
See also: on, prey

prey on

1. Plunder or pillage; also, make a profit at someone else's expense, victimize. For example, Vikings preyed on the coastal towns of England, or The rich have been preying on the poor for centuries. [Late 1500s]
2. Hunt, especially in order to eat, as in Their cat preys on all the rodents in the neighborhood. [c. 1600]
3. Exert a baneful or injurious effect, as in Guilt preyed on his mind. [c. 1700]
See also: on, prey

fall prey to something

COMMON If you fall prey to something bad, it happens to you or you are affected by it. On the flight from Paris to Toulon, Mechiche fell prey to panic. Children in evacuation centres are falling prey to disease.
See also: fall, prey, something

fall prey to

1 be hunted and killed by. 2 be vulnerable to or overcome by.
See also: fall, prey

be/fall ˈprey to something

(formal) be harmed or affected by something bad: He was often prey to doubt and despair.Thousands of small businesses are falling prey to high interest rates.
Prey is an animal, a bird, etc. that is hunted, killed and eaten by another animal.
See also: fall, prey, something

ˌprey on somebody’s ˈmind

(also ˌplay on somebody’s ˈmind) worry or trouble somebody very much: The death of his father is really preying on his mind at the moment. He thinks it was his fault.The question of whether to accept the new job and move to Scotland had been playing on his mind for days.
See also: mind, on, prey

prey on

1. To hunt and kill something for food: Owls prey on mice.
2. To exploit or make a profit at the expense of someone; take advantage of someone: Pickpockets often prey on unsuspecting tourists.
3. To exert a harmful or injurious effect on something or someone: Guilt preyed on him, and eventually led him to confess.
See also: on, prey

fall prey to

To be put into such a vulnerable position as to be at risk of harm, destruction, or invasion: a person who fell prey to swindlers; did not want the country to fall prey to terrorists.
See also: fall, prey
References in periodicals archive ?
A more conventional context might be to relate the predator-prey relationship between carnivorous plants and their insect prey to the mutualism that occurs between plants and their animal pollinators.
In the presence of diversified food, priority of a predator for a specific prey may based on prey type and availability in the feeding ground while age, size, habitat structure and weather conditions are also important (Pitt and Ritchie, 2002).
Check out more information about Prey on Bethesda's official site (https://bethesda.
Being a natural predator, these arachnids play a vital role in the maintenance of prey populations in their habitat.
Predation is a significant factor influencing prey population dynamics (Ives & Dobson 1987, Copp & Kovac 2003, Barraquand et al.
Only one other prey type, a dung beetle (Scarabaeidae spp.
The RSPB's recently published Birdcrime Report showed that there were 85 confirmed incidents of shooting and destruction of birds of prey in the UK in 2014, of which seven occurred in the 14 counties that make up Northern England.
Among nature's compelling interactions is the pursuit of prey by wolves.
What's weird, Hatton says, is that the relative rate of predator growth to prey growth observes the same 3A power law that physiologists use to estimate some relationships at just the species level, such as how basal metabolism changes with a species' body size.
They believe that the jinking, twisting, quick-turning running skills of some predators - and in some cases their prey - are the key to survival.
Naticid gastropods have been significant predators of benthic marine molluscs since the Cretaceous (Sohl 1969), with their presence in nearshore habitats evident in telltale boreholes left behind in the shells of their molluscan prey (e.
Predators undergo changes in their life history traits as a function of prey availability, allowing them to sustain their populations in crop ecosystems under conditions of prey scarcity.
Owl pellets were measured, weighed and disaggregated to evaluate the prey content through skull, jaw, or other hard structure identification.
Washington, Sept 6 ( ANI ): A new study has revealed that the cheetah, which is the world's fastest land animal, matches and may even anticipate the escape tactics of different prey when hunting, rather than just relying on its speed and agility, as previously thought.