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animal

[an-uh-muhl]
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noun
  1. any member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising multicellular organisms that have a well-defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli: some classification schemes also include protozoa and certain other single-celled eukaryotes that have motility and animallike nutritional modes.
  2. any such living thing other than a human being.
  3. a mammal, as opposed to a fish, bird, etc.
  4. the physical, sensual, or carnal nature of human beings; animality: the animal in every person.
  5. an inhuman person; brutish or beastlike person: She married an animal.
  6. thing: A perfect job? Is there any such animal?
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adjective
  1. of, relating to, or derived from animals: animal instincts; animal fats.
  2. pertaining to the physical, sensual, or carnal nature of humans, rather than their spiritual or intellectual nature: animal needs.
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Origin of animal

1300–50; Middle English (< Old French) < Latin, noun derivative (with loss of final vowel and shortening of ā) of animāle, neuter of animālis living, animate, equivalent to anim(a) air, breath + -ālis -al1; E adj. also directly < Latin animālis
Related formsan·i·mal·ic [an-uh-mal-ik] /ˌæn əˈmæl ɪk/, an·i·ma·li·an [an-uh-mey-lee-uhn, -meyl-yuhn] /ˌæn əˈmeɪ li ən, -ˈmeɪl yən/, adjectivenon·an·i·mal, noun, adjectivesem·i·an·i·mal, noun, adjectivesu·per·an·i·mal, adjective

Synonyms for animal

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Synonym study

2. Animal, beast, brute refer to sentient creatures as distinct from minerals and plants; figuratively, they usually connote qualities and characteristics below the human level. Animal is the general word; figuratively, it applies merely to the body or to animal-like characteristics: An athlete is a magnificent animal. Beast refers to four-footed animals; figuratively, it suggests a base, sensual nature: A glutton is a beast. Brute implies absence of ability to reason; figuratively, it connotes savagery as well: a drunken brute. 8. See carnal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for animal

natural, bodily, pet, beast, creature, wild, brute, mammalian, stray, being, mutt, bum, vertebrate, invertebrate, varmint, critter, beastly, bestial, corporeal, earthly

Examples from the Web for animal

Contemporary Examples of animal

Historical Examples of animal

  • With a sharp piece of flint he cut the fur of the animal's back.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Do you make up your mind beforehand that if the animal should kill you, it is all right?

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • It is this that distinguishes this class of foods from animal foods.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

  • This is the animal page of the Sunday Star and Cadge is in a hurry for it, to do the obbligato.

  • Unless they say something like that the spirit of the animal killed might do them some mischief.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin


British Dictionary definitions for animal

animal

noun
  1. zoology any living organism characterized by voluntary movement, the possession of cells with noncellulose cell walls and specialized sense organs enabling rapid response to stimuli, and the ingestion of complex organic substances such as plants and other animalsRelated prefix: zoo-
  2. any mammal, esp any mammal except man
  3. a brutish person
  4. facetious a person or thing (esp in the phrase no such animal)
  5. Australian informal a very dirty car
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adjective
  1. of, relating to, or derived from animalsanimal products; an animal characteristic
  2. of or relating to the physical needs or desires; carnal; sensual
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Word Origin for animal

C14: from Latin animal (n), from animālis (adj) living, breathing; see anima
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 animal

n.

early 14c. (but rare before c.1600, and not in KJV, 1611), "any living creature" (including humans), from Latin animale "living being, being which breathes," neuter of animalis "animate, living; of the air," from anima "breath, soul; a current of air" (see animus, and cf. deer). Drove out the older beast in common usage. Used of brutish humans from 1580s.

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adj.

late 14c., from animal (n.). Animal rights is attested from 1879; animal liberation from 1973. Animal magnetism originally (1784) referred to mesmerism.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

animal in Medicine

animal

(ănə-məl)
n.
  1. A multicellular organism with membranous cell walls of the kingdom Animalia, differing from plants in certain typical characteristics such as capacity for locomotion, nonphotosynthetic metabolism, pronounced response to stimuli, restricted growth, and fixed bodily structure.
  2. An animal organism other than a human, especially a mammal.
  3. A human considered with respect to his or her physical, as opposed to spiritual, nature.
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adj.
  1. Relating to, characteristic of, or derived from an animal or animals.
  2. Relating to the physical as distinct from the spiritual nature of humans.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

animal in Science

animal

[ănə-məl]
  1. Any of the multicellular organisms belonging to the kingdom Animalia. All animals are eukaryotes, with each of their cells having a nucleus containing DNA. Most animals develop from a blastula and have a digestive tract, nervous system, the ability to move voluntarily, and specialized sensory organs for recognizing and responding to stimuli in the environment. Animals are heterotrophs, feeding on plants, other animals, or organic matter. The first animals probably evolved from protists and appeared during the Precambrian Era.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.