Feed or Fed – What’s the Difference?

Verb conjugation can be one of the most difficult processes for language learners in any language to master. Some verbs do not follow standard rules, and there are many tenses to remember.

Feed and fed are tenses of the same verb. Adding to the confusion, both of these words also appear as nouns. Continue reading to learn more about feed and fed.

What is the Difference Between Feed and Fed?

In this article, I will compare feed vs. fed. I will use each of these conjugations in example sentence to demonstrate their proper context.

I will also oultine a mnemonic device that will help you choose between feed and fed in your own writing.

When to Use Feed

feed versus fed What does feed mean? Feed can be a noun or a verb.

As a verb, feed means to serve or give food, often including direct assistance with eating.

Here are some examples,

  • Ned, I need you to feed the dog before you leave for work today.
  • Jenna brings a bottle to work so she can feed her baby.
  • Andrew is not yet old enough to feed himself.

As a noun, feed refers to food given to cattle or other animals.

Here are two examples,

  • Chase bought 300 pounds of chicken feed at the supply store.
  • Ross cited a decision announced last week to raise duties on distillers dried grains — a byproduct of ethanol production used as animal feed — from the United States. –The Washington Post

Feed can also be used figuratively as both a noun and a verb. As an example, to feed the meter is to pay one’s parking fee, which is done with money, rather than food. Likewise, a video feed or social media feed refers to a stream of digital content, not physical food.

When to Use Fed

Definition of fed definition of feed definitionWhat does fed mean? Fed is also a verb. It is the past tense form of the verb feed, defined above.

For example,

  • Ashley already fed the cat; he doesn’t need to eat table scraps.
  • Aaron fed paper into the shredder all afternoon.
  • Andronicus fed his horse a cheeseburger at the drive-thru.
  • Scientists at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, fed the silkworms mulberry leaves coated in a solution that contained graphene in order to create the material. –Newsweek

Fed is sometimes used informally as a noun, where it is usually used shortened form of the word federal. It sometimes refers to The Federal Reserve System, and sometimes federal agents (especially of the FBI).

For example,

  • The Fed is raising interest rates.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define fed and define feedHere is a helpful trick to remember fed vs. feed.

Both feed and fed appear as nouns and verbs. If the action you are describing happened in the past, choose fed, as feed is the present tense form of this verb.

If you can’t decide whether to choose fed or feed, remember that fed rhymes with bled—another past tense verb. By using this memory tool, you will always be able to remember that fed is a past tense verb.


Is it feed or fed? Feed and fed can both function as either verbs or nouns. As verbs, they are the present and past tense, respectively, of the verb feed, which means to give food or help with eating.

As a noun, feed can refer to food given to animals, or figuratively for a number of uses. Fed is a common nickname for the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States of America.

Since fed rhymes with bled, you will always be able to remember that both of these words are past tense verbs.

If you still need help, you can always check this article for a quick refresher.