v. can·ni·bal·ized, can·ni·bal·iz·ing, can·ni·bal·iz·es
1. To remove serviceable parts from (damaged airplanes, for example) for use in the repair of other equipment of the same kind.
2. To deprive of vital elements or resources, such as personnel, equipment, or funding, for use elsewhere.
3. To draw on as a major source: "cannibalizes the lives of his wife and friends for his second-rate novels" (Washington Post).
4. To practice cannibalism on.
To practice cannibalism.
can′ni·bal·i·zation (-bə-lĭ-zāshən) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.