eat someone alive

eat someone alive

Overwhelm or defeat someone thoroughly, make short work of someone. For example, Lacking experience in manufacturing, he was eaten alive by his competitors. This slangy hyperbole dates from the early 1900s. A newer slangy variant is eat someone's lunch, dating from the mid-1900s. For example, It was a decisive victory; he ate the incumbent's lunch.
See also: alive, eat

eat someone alive

1. If you say that someone or something will eat you alive, you mean that they will seriously harm or criticize you. If a president does not introduce new measures, he's going to be eaten alive by Wall Street. He was certain Sid would be eaten alive by the hardened criminals at the jail.
2. If something such as an illness or a problem is eating you alive, it is causing you great pain or distress. The pain ate him alive; the world was nothing but fire and pain. I know and she knows that the nursing home is the only solution. But it is eating me alive.
3. If you are eaten alive by insects, you are repeatedly bitten by them. We've been sleeping on the floor; we have no water. It's been easily 100, 125 degrees. We've been eaten alive by bugs. `Can we go out?' — `Outside? The mosquitoes will eat us alive.'
See also: alive, eat

eat someone alive

1 (of insects) bite someone many times. 2 exploit someone's weakness ruthlessly. informal
See also: alive, eat