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feed off (of) (someone or something)
1. Literally, to use someone or something as a source of sustenance. The kittens still need to feed off their mother for a few more days. The tribe primarily feeds off of nuts, berries, and tubers they forage in the forest.
2. By extension, to exploit someone or something for one's benefit or advantage. These insurance companies are just trying to make money by feeding off our anxieties. A con man feeds off of gullible simpletons who will fall for his tricks.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
feed off (of) something
to eat something in particular customarily. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) This creature feeds off fallen fruit. Mosquitoes seem to want to feed off of me!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
To be nourished, sustained, or fueled by something: The microbes feed off the decaying seaweed. The politicians are feeding off of the public's fear.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.