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 formsbeast·like, adjective

Synonyms for beast

Synonym study

1. See animal. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for beastlike

Historical Examples of beastlike

  • The two beastlike wretches groan and strain at their fetters.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony

    William Stearns Davis

  • Lifting his sword, he sprang at me with a beastlike scream of rage and hate.

    Montezuma's Daughter

    H. Rider Haggard

  • In his heavy-lidded eyes, under-hung by watery pouches of sin and dissipation, there was a vengeful and beastlike glare.

    The Hunted Woman

    James Oliver Curwood

  • Its frightful beak opened and closed, its beastlike talons sought to clutch support, its owl-like eyes became glazed and fixed.

  • There came from him an indescribable reek of tobacco, whisky, filthy clothes, and the beastlike odor of an unclean body.

    A Woman Named Smith

    Marie Conway Oemler

British Dictionary definitions for beastlike



any animal other than man, esp a large wild quadruped
savage nature or characteristicsthe beast in man
a brutal, uncivilized, or filthy person


(tr) military slang, slang, mainly British to punish or torture (someone) in a manner that involves excessive physical exercise

Word Origin for beast

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 beastlike



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