1. Of or relating to carnivores.
2. Flesh-eating or predatory: a carnivorous bird.
3. Characterized by destructive or predatory behavior or instincts: "a city becoming increasingly carnivorous as it becomes decreasingly serious about governance" (George F. Will).
4. Botany Capable of trapping insects or other small organisms and absorbing nutrients from them.
[From Latin carnivorus : carō, carn-, flesh; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + -vorus, -vorous.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.