The word "prey" is used when describing an animal or a human being that is attacked or assaulted by another animal or human. Notice that this word is different from "pray," which is spelled with an "a."

simplepastpast participle
  • Wolves prey upon rabbits.
  • Snakes prey on mice.
  • A story in the newspaper tells of an incident in which a salesperson preyed upon elderly people and cheated them out of millions of dollars. Eventually he went to jail.
  • Men who prey upon vulnerable women should be ashamed of themselves.
  • People who appear to be gullible are preyed upon by those who lack a sense of morality and decency.

The word "prey" is also a noun:

  • Snakes go after live prey.
  • The salesperson marked the customer as easy prey. (It would be easy to make sale to this customer.)
  • Without a healthy supply of prey, certain carnivorous animals will starve to death.


Rabbits are prey for owls and foxes.

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Date of publication: October 19, 2016