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[beest] /bist/
any nonhuman animal, especially a large, four-footed mammal.
the crude animal nature common to humans and the lower animals:
Hunger brought out the beast in him.
a cruel, coarse, filthy, or otherwise beastlike person.
a live creature, as distinguished from a plant:
What manner of beast is this?
the beast, the Antichrist. Rev. 13:18.
Origin of beast
1175-1225; Middle English be(e)ste < Old French beste (French bête) < Latin bēstia
Related forms
beastlike, adjective
3. cad, swine, pig, brute, savage, ogre, monster, barbarian.
Synonym Study
1. See animal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for beast
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A man is but a beast as he lives from day to day, eating and drinking, breathing and sleeping.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • He is a wondrous large and strong man, with no ruth for man, woman, or beast.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The voice, too, when he spoke, was as deep and as fierce as the growl of a beast of prey.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • It is used by their prickers and huntsmen when the beast hath not fled, but is still in its lair.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • If the hunter fires then, over the horn, he will strike the beast's backbone.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
British Dictionary definitions for beast


any animal other than man, esp a large wild quadruped
savage nature or characteristics: the beast in man
a brutal, uncivilized, or filthy person
(transitive) (military slang, slang, mainly Brit) to punish or torture (someone) in a manner that involves excessive physical exercise
Word Origin
C13: from Old French beste, from Latin bestia, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beast

c.1200, from Old French beste "animal, wild beast," figuratively "fool, idiot" (11c., Modern French bête), from Vulgar Latin *besta, from Latin bestia "beast, wild animal," of unknown origin. Used to translate Latin animal. Replaced Old English deor (see deer) as the generic word for "wild creature," only to be ousted 16c. by animal. Of persons felt to be animal-like in various senses from early 13c. Of the figure in the Christian apocalypse story from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for beast



  1. A cheap prostitute (esp WWII Armed forces)
  2. (also beastie, beasty) An especially unattractive woman (1940s+ Teenagers)
  3. Any woman whatever, but esp a young, attractive one (1960s+ Jazz musicians)
  4. A crude or sexually aggressive male; animal
  5. Anything regarded as difficult and misbegotten: But that is part of the beast that was created (1860s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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