The word ‘eat’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to put food in your mouth, chew, and swallow it.

For example:

  • I sometimes eat sushi. (consume)


Eat is an irregular verb. The past tense is ate and the past participle is eaten.

idiomatic phrasal verbs

Did you know phrasal verbs are sometimes used in idioms? See if you can spot any. If you don’t know any phrasal verbs with ‘eat’, click here to learn them.

idioms list with ‘eat’

  • dog eat dog world – ruthless unethical behaviour used to become successful in the working world
    e.g. Being a banker is a dog eat dog world. I’m thinking of quitting for the simple life.
  • eat for two – be pregnant so you can eat more food
    e.g. I need to go on a diet, I’m not eating for two anymore.
  • eat humble pie – admit you are wrong after being humiliated
    e.g. If the CCTV proves Ethan is innocent, we’ll have to eat humble pie.
  • eat like a horse – eat a lot
    e.g. I need to increase my son’s rent. He eats like a horse.
  • eat one’s hat – express certainty that something will or won’t happen
    e.g. I know Adam cheated on the test. I’ll eat my hat if he didn’t.
  • eat one’s words – accept that something you said was wrong
    e.g. My parents said I’m a failure. They’ll be eating their words when I get accepted into Oxford.
  • eat out of the palm of one’s hand – dominate/have control over someone
    e.g. The new teacher is great, she had the whole class eating out of the palm of her hand.
  • eat someone alive – defeat/overwhelm
    e.g. I know his alibi is false. The lawyers are going to eat him alive.
  • eat someone for breakfast – easily defeat someone
    e.g. Travis is playing Rutherford in the final. Travis will eat him for breakfast.
  • eat someone out of house and home – eat a lot of someone else’s food eat e.g. e.g. I’m only allowed around grandma’s once a week as I eat her out of house and home.
  • eat your heart out – better than the original (usually a celebrity)
    e.g. Look at my quiff! Elvis Presley eat your heart out.
  • grab a bite (to eat) – go out to eat (usually in a hurry)
    e.g. I’ve got back to back meetings all day. Hopefully I can nip out and grab a bite.
  • have one’s cake and eat it – enjoy two things that contradict each other
    e.g. You can’t have your cake and eat it. It’s uni or travelling, not both.
  • the proof of the pudding is in the eating – something can only be judged once it has been used/tried/tested/experienced
    e.g. The idea is great, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
  • you are what you eat – if you want to be healthy you must eat healthy food
    e.g. I don’t think you should have another takeaway this week, you are what you eat.

Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.

verb phrases - eat
verb phrase - eat for two
Idioms with verbs - EAT - eat humble pie
Idioms with verbs - EAT - eat like a horse
Idioms with verbs - EAT - eat one’s hat
Idioms with verbs - EAT - eat one's words
verb phrase - eat out of the palm of one's hand
Idioms with verbs - EAT - eat someone alive
Idioms with verbs - EAT - eat someone for breakfast
verb phrase - eat someone out of house and home
verb phrase - eat your heart out
Idioms with verbs - EAT - have one’s cake and eat it
idioms with verb EAT - the proof of the pudding is in the eating meaning
Idioms with verbs - EAT - you are what you eat


Hey, did you know the verb ‘eat’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.

Am I right?


I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘eat‘ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.