also maneater, c. 1600, "a cannibal," from man (n.) + eater. By 1829 in reference to the great white shark; by 1840 of tigers in India that have acquired a taste for human flesh and have a special propensity for killing and eating humans; later also of lions. Also used of horses that tend to bite (1840). By 1906 of women (the female equivalent of a womanizer). Related: Man-eating.
The term Man-eater is applied to those Tigers, which, deserting their usual haunts in the jungle, frequent the neighbourhood of Villages, and prey chiefly on men. They are almost invariably found to be old animals, and generally females. They are usually very cunning and cowardly. [Capt. Walter Campbell, "The Old Forest Ranger; or, Wild Sports of India," 1842]