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beast

[beest]
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noun
  1. any nonhuman animal, especially a large, four-footed mammal.
  2. the crude animal nature common to humans and the lower animals: Hunger brought out the beast in him.
  3. a cruel, coarse, filthy, or otherwise beastlike person.
  4. a live creature, as distinguished from a plant: What manner of beast is this?
  5. 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 formsbeast·like, adjective

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
3. cad, swine, pig, brute, savage, ogre, monster, barbarian.

Synonym study

1. See animal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

beast

noun
  1. any animal other than man, esp a large wild quadruped
  2. savage nature or characteristicsthe beast in man
  3. a brutal, uncivilized, or filthy person
verb
  1. (tr) military slang, slang, mainly British 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

Word Origin and History for beast

n.

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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