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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 ?
127) Preyer notes that it is difficult to make definitive
In providing nearly a dozen interesting papers on different topics addressed by Lewis's metaphysical writings, Preyer and Siebelt have produced a volume that is interesting, important, and a pleasure to read.
Kagan courageously asserts that we now know considerably more about development than did Preyer, Baldwin or Freud.
Preyer and Richardson nonetheless persisted in their efforts to get Carter to commit to an official policy limiting executive privilege to presidential use only.
99, 111 (1955) (noting that the judge at Fort Bridger "found the impaneling of a [even a six-man] jury an extremely difficult matter at times [and had] to call in some of his farm hands at Fort Supply a dozen miles to the south"); see also Preyer, supra note 18, at 71 n.
Richardson Preyer, a North Carolina Democrat, who had substantial holdings in a major R&D-intensive pharmaceutical company, Richardson-Merrell, was defeated in the 1980 election.
at 176 ("As Kathryn Turner Preyer observed, '[A]wareness of the Act seems to have been kept alive chiefly because it must be summoned to serve as the cause of its own repeal in March 1802.
1994, "First-Person Knowledge and Authority", en Gerhard Preyer, Frank Siebelt y Alexander Ulfig (comps.
41-65; Robert Preyer, "Sydney Dobell and the Victorian Epic" (UTQ 30 [January 1961]: 163-178); Mark A.
The intellectuals who were most critical of or opposed to the developing capitalist market include names such as Karl Marx, Matthew Arnold, Georg Lukacs, Hans Preyer, and Herbert Marcuse.
Brenda Preyer and Amanda Lillie cover architecture and family identity; the former notes the deliberate replication of the materials and design of older palaces in their subsequent redesign and reconstruction, and the latter shows how important was memory of place, bordering on nostalgia, in the preservation and maintenance of family identity; a memory of place whose power often transcended the physical buildings themselves.
She secured a staff position with North Carolina Representative Richardson Preyer and, enticed by a study of wage discrimination in Congress, found her way onto the Capitol Hill Woman's Political Caucus during the early 1970s.
L Pratesi, Giovanni Giuseppe: L Presano, Rita: L Preyer, Gottfried von: L Prinsep, Valentine Cameron: L Proch, Heinrich: L MS Prochazka, Rudolf: L Proctor, Anne B.
Returning to review the work of our earliest Justices - Casto's project - is also the project of several other notable scholars of legal and constitutional history, including, among others, Maeva Marcus (and her crew who are now producing the multi-volume Documentary History of the earliest Justices), Wythe Holt, Herbert Johnson, George Haskins, and Kathryn Preyer, all of whom have clearly influenced and been of great use to Casto.