- an animal, perhaps the hippopotamus, mentioned in Job 40:15–24.
- any creature or thing of monstrous size or power: The army's new tank is a behemoth. The cartel is a behemoth that small business owners fear.
Origin of behemoth
Much folklore has arisen around behemoth. One story has it that behemoth, separated from its aquatic counterpart leviathan at the dawn of creation, will be reunited with it in an epic battle on Judgment Day in which each will slay the other. Following this biblical King Kong vs. Godzilla match, both animals will be served up as a feast for the remaining faithful.
Behemoth makes an appearance in such classics of literature as John Milton's Paradise Lost, Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, and James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Today we use it to apply to anything large, powerful, and often unwieldy.
— Behemoth: Thomas Hobbes's 1681 book on the English Civil Wars, from the Scottish revolution in 1637 to the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.
—Behemoth: A character in The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Behemoth is a walking, talking, gun-toting black cat, and a demon in disguise.
—Behemoth: A Polish rock band, playing what's known as blackened death metal, a mix of black metal and thrash metal music.
—The Behemoth: A video game development company, creators of the popular video games Alien Hominid (2004) and Castle Crashers (2008).
— Behemoth: The second book in Scott Westerfield’s steampunk young adult series, published in 2010.
- "Whom the Hebrues call Bemoth that doth in latin playne expresse / A beast rude full of cursednesse."-John Lydgate Troy Book, II. xvii (1430)
- "Behemoth, biggest born of earth."-John Milton Paradise Lost (1667)
- "[T]he unwieldy behemoths of the old economy are falling over each other to reinvent their identities."-Oliver Burkeman If the name fits… Guardian (January 8, 2001)
Examples from the Web for behemoth
After all, his next project is naming a street for Josef Brodsky, an even more outspoken enemy of the Soviet behemoth.From Moscow to Queens, Down Sergei Dovlatov Way
September 15, 2014
Ours is the Caiman model, a 6x6 behemoth that weighs in at over 15 tons and makes Humvees shrivel up with feelings of inadequacy.Why Does My Kids’ Elementary School Need a Tank?
September 13, 2014
What a demon, a behemoth, evil just seems to be seeping through him.13 Celebrities Who Dissed Justin Bieber
August 7, 2014
But that quality got diluted as the site expanded into the behemoth it is today, he said.Most Comments Are Horrible—Sites Look for Ways to Make Them Better
July 16, 2012
This 678-page behemoth was self-published by De La Pava in 2008 and rediscovered in 2012.This Week’s Hot Reads: May 7, 2012
May 8, 2012
Hath he no the smooth face o' a bairn and the thews' o' Behemoth?'Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
Behemoth was a Strephon, and he thought that he had found his Chloe.Garrison's Finish
W. B. M. Ferguson
While the planet bombs dropped, the behemoth began to rise again.Victory
Lester del Rey
The beast is probably the same as the ‘Behemoth’ of the Bible.Some Reminiscences of old Victoria
There are other legends of the Behemoth too puerile to be narrated.Bible Animals;
J. G. Wood
- Old Testament a gigantic beast, probably a hippopotamus, described in Job 40:15
- a huge or monstrous person or thing
Word Origin and History for behemoth
late 14c., huge biblical beast (Job xl:15), from Latin behemoth, from Hebrew b'hemoth, usually taken as plural of intensity of b'hemah "beast." But the Hebrew word is perhaps a folk etymology of Egyptian pehemau, literally "water-ox," the name for the hippopotamus.
Long before Jumbo was dreamed of, a hippo was exhibited by George K. Bailey, who invented the tank on wheels now used so generally in the circuses. The beast was advertised as "the blood sweating Behemoth of Holy Writ," and he made several men rich. [Isaac F. Marcosson, "Sawdust and Gold Dust," in "The Bookman," June 1910]