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To prey upon

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • To prey upon To take prey from; to despoil; to pillage; to rob
    • ***

Usage

In literature:

It seemed to prey upon him to such an extent that I became a little anxious about him.
"Wild Life on the Rockies" by Enos A. Mills
Girls were foolish, ridiculous creatures, set apart to be laughed at or preyed upon at will.
"A Son of the Middle Border" by Hamlin Garland
Every beast preys upon others; and man, according to the old saying, is a wolf to man.
"Social Rights and Duties, Volume I (of 2)" by Sir Leslie Stephen
Disease preyed upon them, yet no physician, it is said, was suffered to visit them.
"Harper's Young People, June 22, 1880" by Various
What use to blame her who acted after her kind and was no more to be stirred by appeals than a wild creature red-clawed upon its prey?
"The Prisoner" by Alice Brown
Now the killer carries its prey home, pushes it to the bottom of the tunnel and deposits upon it a single egg.
"The Meaning of Evolution" by Samuel Christian Schmucker
Evidently these vast creatures were forced to prey upon one another for sustenance.
"Astounding Stories of Super-Science, June, 1930" by Various
There are scarcely any animals to be found, excepting bears, that live by preying upon fish.
"The History of Sandford and Merton" by Thomas Day
Consider the essential imbecility of allowing the nation's life and the nation's thrift to be preyed upon for profit in this way!
"New Worlds For Old" by Herbert George Wells
These excursions preyed upon her mind, so that at last she resolved to challenge him regarding them.
"Legends & Romances of Brittany" by Lewis Spence
The simple mandate of law was sufficient authorization for them to prey upon the whole world outside of their charmed circle.
"History of the Great American Fortunes, Vol. I" by Myers Gustavus
It was like the crouching of a tiger making ready to spring upon its prey.
"Our campaign around Gettysburg" by John Lockwood
I suppose that little 'accident' to Richard preyed upon his mind.
"Under False Pretences" by Adeline Sergeant
The right way is to import other insects that prey upon roaches.
"The Crow's Nest" by Clarence Day, Jr.
The next instant it was at the very door, and its huge form shut out the light, as it was about to pounce upon its prey.
"Marguerite De Roberval" by T. G. Marquis
He deprecated the proposal that the coalition should surrender the right to prey upon hostile commerce.
"American World Policies" by Walter E. Weyl
The lion scorns to prey upon a hare, Nor is the blinking taper fit to try eagles' eyes.
"A Select Collection of Old English Plays" by Robert Dodsley
They fell upon the flying foe with the ferocity of tigers, about to be disappointed of their prey.
"Sketches of Aboriginal Life" by V. V. Vide
She had been preyed upon, and had learned to prey upon others in self-defense.
"Sinister Street, vol. 2" by Compton Mackenzie
He raised his eyes and came down upon us as an eagle to its prey.
"Glories of Spain" by Charles W. Wood
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In poetry:

"Where is the pain that long has preyed
Upon you in so sad a way, sir?"
The Turk he giggled, blushed, and said:
I don't exactly like to say, sir."
"Ben Allah Achmet, or, the Fatal Tum" by William Schwenck Gilbert
O divider of heaven and hell bring relief,
Don’t let us give in to our grief.
How long upon our lives you prey?
Why don’t you hunt our lives’ thief?
"Rubaiyat 40" by Shams al-Din Hafiz
The rough north winds have left their icy caves
To growl and grope for prey
Upon the murky sea;
The lonely sea-gull skims the sullen waves
All the gray winter day.
"The House Of Youth" by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Or as the wily sailors crept
To seize (while on the Deep it slept)
The hapless creature which did dwell
Erewhile within the dancing shell,
They steal upon their prey.
"Memorials Of A Tour In Scotland, 1803" by William Wordsworth
His head a prey to the dull knell's sound,
In terror the grave-digger turns the ground
With strokes of the spade, and doth ceaseless cast
The dried-up earth upon his past.
"The Grave-Digger" by Emile Verhaeren

Unwelcome to him is the bright orb of day,
As it glides o’er the earth and the sea;
He seeks then to hide like a wild beast of prey,
But with hope, rests his heart upon thee.
Shine on, &c.
"Freedom's Star" by Anonymous Americas

In news:

John Hafernik, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University, describes how a parasitic fly that was thought to prey upon bumblebees may pose a new threat to honey bee populations in the U.S.
The company took its name from a mythical, winged dragon that was said to be so large it preyed upon elephants.
For example, in an early scene, three female vampires attempt to prey upon Jonathan Harker, the English solicitor who is visiting Count Dracula 's Transylvanian castle.
It's nicknamed the "Zombie Disease" because those killed by the disease seem to rise from the dead and prey upon the living.
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