Etymology
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prey (n.)

mid-13c., preie, "animal hunted for food, that which is seized by any carnivorous animal to be devoured" (also, figuratively, of souls captured by Satan, etc.), also "goods taken in war," from Old French preie "booty, animal taken in the chase" (mid-12c., Modern French proie), from Latin praeda "booty, plunder; game hunted."

This is from earlier praeheda, literally "something seized before," from PIE *prai-heda-; for the first element see prae-; the second element is related to the second element in prehendere "to grasp, seize" (from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, to take").

The meaning "act of preying or seizing upon anything" is from early 14c.; bird of prey is from late 14c. (fowl of prey is mid-14c.).

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prey (v.)

c. 1300, "to plunder, pillage, ravage," from prey (n.) and in part from Old French preer, earlier preder (c.1040), from Late Latin praedare, collateral form of Latin praedari "to take booty, plunder, pillage; catch animals as game," from praeda "booty, plunder; game hunted." Its sense of "to kill and devour" (an animal) is attested in English from mid-14c. Related: Preyed; preyer; preying.

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depredate (v.)

1620s, "consume by waste;" 1650s, "consume by pillage or plunder," from Latin depredatus, past participle of depraedare "to pillage, ravage," from de- "thoroughly" (see de-) + praedari "to plunder," literally "to make prey of," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)).

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predatory (adj.)

1580s, "involving plundering or pillaging," from Latin praedatorius "pertaining to plunder," from praedator "plunderer," from praedor "to plunder," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)). In zoology, "habitually preying upon other animals," from 1660s.

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predation (n.)

late 15c., predacioun, "act of plundering or pillaging," from Latin praedationem (nominative praedatio) "a plundering, act of taking booty," from praedari "to rob, to plunder," from praeda "plunder, booty, prey" (see prey (n.)). Zoological sense recorded from 1907.

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depredation (n.)

"act of plundering, pillaging," late 15c. (Caxton), from Old French depredacion (15c., Modern French déprédation), from Late Latin depraedationem (nominative depraedatio) "a plundering," from past-participle stem of Latin depraedari "to pillage," from de- "thoroughly" (see de-) + praedari "to plunder," literally "to make prey of," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)).

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spree (n.)

"a frolic, drinking bout," 1804, slang, earliest use in Scottish dialect works, of uncertain origin. Perhaps [Barnhart] an alteration of French esprit "lively wit" (see esprit). According to Klein, Irish spre seems to be a loan-word from Old Norse sprakr. Watkins proposes a possible origin as an alteration of Scots spreath "cattle raid," from Gaelic sprédh, spré, "cattle; wealth," from Middle Irish preit, preid, "booty," ultimately from Latin praeda "plunder, booty" (see prey (n.)).

The splore is a frolic, a merry meeting. In the slang language of the inhabitants of St Giles's, in London, it is called a spree or a go. [Note in "Select Scottish Songs, Ancient and Modern," vol. II, London, 1810]

In Foote's comedy "The Maid of Bath" (1794) the word appears as a Scottish dialect pronunciation of spry: " 'When I intermarried with Sir Launcelot Coldstream, I was en siek a spree lass as yoursel; and the baronet bordering upon his grand climacteric;' " etc.

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*ghend- 

also *ghed-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to seize, to take." 

It forms all or part of: apprehend; apprentice; apprise; beget; comprehend; comprehension; comprehensive; comprise; depredate; depredation; emprise; enterprise; entrepreneur; forget; get; guess; impresario; misprision; osprey; predatory; pregnable; prehensile; prehension; prey; prison; prize (n.2) "something taken by force;" pry (v.2) "raise by force;" reprehend; reprieve; reprisal; reprise; spree; surprise.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek khandanein "to hold, contain;" Lithuanian godėtis "be eager;" second element in Latin prehendere "to grasp, seize;" Welsh gannu "to hold, contain;" Russian za-gadka "riddle;" Old Norse geta "to obtain, reach; to be able to; to beget; to learn; to be pleased with;" Albanian gjen "to find."

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predacious (adj.)

also predaceous, "living by prey, disposed to prey or plunder, predatory," 1713, from stem of predation (Latin praedari) + -acious.

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raptor (n.)

late 14c., raptour, "a plundering bird of prey;" c. 1600, "ravisher, abductor," from Latin raptor "a robber, plunderer, abductor, ravisher," agent noun from past-participle stem of rapere "to seize" (see rapid). Modern ornithological use is by 1873, from Raptores, the order name of the birds of prey (1823, a Latin plural).

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