eat / ēt/ • v. (past ate / āt/ ; past part. eat·en / ˈētn/ ) [tr.] put (food) into the mouth and chew and swallow it: he was eating a hot dog [intr.] she watched her son as he ate. ∎ have (a meal): we ate dinner in a noisy cafe. ∎ [intr.] (eat out) have a meal in a restaurant. ∎ [intr.] (eat in) have a meal at home rather than in a restaurant. ∎ [intr.] follow a diet of a specified kind or quality: she was very thin, although she was eating properly now. ∎ inf. bother; annoy: she knew what was eating him. ∎ inf. absorb (financial loss or cost)• n. (eats) inf. food or snacks: people would stop for soft drinks or eats.PHRASES: eat someone alive inf. (of insects) bite someone many times: we were eaten alive by mosquitoes. ∎ exploit someone's weakness and completely dominate them: he expects manufacturers to be eaten alive by lawyers in liability suits.eat one's heart out suffer from excessive longing, esp. for someone or something unattainable. ∎ [in imper.] inf. used to encourage feelings of jealousy or regret: eat your heart out, I'm having a ball!eat like a bird (or a horse) inf. eat very little (or a lot).eat someone out of house and home inf. eat a lot of someone else's food.eat one's words retract what one has said, esp. in a humiliated way: they will eat their words when I win.have someone eating out of one's hand have someone completely under one's control.PHRASAL VERBS: eat away at something (or eat something away) erode or destroy something gradually: the sun and wind eat away at the ice. ∎ use up (profits, resources, or time), esp. when they are intended for other purposes: inflation can eat away at the annuity's value over the years.eat someone up [usu. as adj.] (eaten up) dominate the thoughts of someone completely: I'm eaten up with guilt.eat something up use resources or time in very large quantities: an operating system that eats up 200Mb of disk space.