prey

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Related to preyed: preyed upon, fell prey

prey on (one's) mind

To cause someone 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. It unfortunately very common for elderly people to fall prey to scam artists online, who take advantage of their lack of technological know-how. Many major cities, once thought to be untouchable by such attacks, have been falling 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

v.
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 ?
carpenteri, which was derived from Abbott [1974]) and the size ranges of naticids that preyed on them.
Although small prey items are occasionally preyed on by large predators,
Because we did not evaluate abundance of prey in the field, we could not assess whether Harris' hawks preyed on animals in an opportunistic manner, or if they selected them.
Again from the sixth row of A, it can be said that species '6' is preyed by the species (predators) 1,4,5.
It's impossible to determine whether the Brazilian spinosaur preyed on alive pterosaur or merely scavenged a carcass, Buffetaut notes.
The Bonferroni confidence intervals procedure revealed that in the dry season, the hawks preyed more on Calomys tener and less on Akodon spp.
A less vulnerable species (Eligmodontia typus, better escape ability) was preyed upon less than expected by the culpeo fox (Dusicyon culpaeus), while the behaviorally and morphologically vulnerable Akodon spp.
a) -- -- 1 Thaptomys nigrita -- -- 1 Rhagomys rufescens 1 -- 2 Total 15 27 261 (a) Species preyed on by White-tailed Hawks.
Results from the first set of experiments showed that green crabs preyed on all prey species from all size-classes in single and multiple-choice trials.
Single-choice Experiment The green crab preyed on all species and all size-classes except for large eastern oysters (25-40 mm size-class) (Fig.
Multiple-choice Experiment As observed in the single-choice experiment, green crabs preyed on all species and all size-classes (Fig, 1B).
They feed on whatever's available and have always preyed on other birds.