AskDefine | Define omnivorous

Dictionary Definition

omnivorous adj : feeding on both plants and animals [ant: insectivorous, carnivorous, herbivorous]

User Contributed Dictionary



From the Latin omni, all and vore.


  1. having the ability to eat both animal and vegetable food

Derived terms


having the ability to eat both animal and vegetable food

Extensive Definition

Omnivores (from Latin: omne all, everything; vorare to devour) are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source. They are opportunistic, general feeders not specifically adapted to eat and digest either meat or plant material exclusively. Pigs are one well-known example of an omnivore. Crows are another example of an omnivore that many people see every day. Humans ourselves are omnivores.
Although there are reported cases of herbivores eating meat matter as well as examples of carnivores eating plants, the classification refers to the adaptations and main food source of the species in general so these exceptions do not make either individual animals nor the species as a whole omnivores.
Most bear species are considered omnivores, but individuals' diets can range from almost exclusively herbivorous to almost exclusively carnivorous depending on what food sources are available locally and seasonally. Polar bears can be classified as carnivores while pandas almost exclusively eat bamboo and are therefore herbivores.

Species considered omnivorous


omnivorous in Afrikaans: Omnivoor
omnivorous in Czech: Všežravec
omnivorous in Welsh: Hollysydd
omnivorous in German: Allesfresser
omnivorous in Estonian: Omnivoor
omnivorous in Spanish: Omnívoro
omnivorous in French: Omnivore
omnivorous in Croatian: Svežderi
omnivorous in Ido: Omnivoro
omnivorous in Indonesian: Omnivora
omnivorous in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Omnivore
omnivorous in Italian: Onnivoro
omnivorous in Hebrew: אוכל כול
omnivorous in Maltese: Omnivoru
omnivorous in Malay (macrolanguage): Maserba
omnivorous in Dutch: Alleseter
omnivorous in Japanese: 雑食
omnivorous in Norwegian: Alteter
omnivorous in Polish: Zwierzę wszystkożerne
omnivorous in Portuguese: Omnívoro
omnivorous in Russian: Всеядные
omnivorous in Simple English: Omnivore
omnivorous in Slovak: Všežravec
omnivorous in Finnish: Omnivori
omnivorous in Swedish: Allätare
omnivorous in Tamil: அனைத்துண்ணி
omnivorous in Turkish: Hepçil
omnivorous in Chinese: 雜食性

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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