[ beest-lee ]
/ ˈbist li /
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See synonyms for: beastly / beastlier / beastliest / beastliness on Thesaurus.com

adjective, beast·li·er, beast·li·est.
of or like a beast; bestial.
Informal. nasty; unpleasant; disagreeable.
Chiefly British Informal. very; exceedingly: It's beastly cold out.
British Informal. disagreeably; outrageously: beastly rude.
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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of beastly

1175–1225; Middle English beasteliche, later be(e)stly.See beast, -ly


beast·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does beastly mean?

Beastly is used to describe a person or behavior that’s nasty, vile, or cruel.

The word beast sometimes simply means a large animal, but it’s also often used to refer to a kind of monster. This sense of the word is sometimes used figuratively to refer to a person in a way that likens them to a monster and implies that they behave in a crude, brutish, or animalistic way. This is often what’s implied by the word beastly.

Beastly can also mean unpleasant or disagreeable, as in beastly weather.

In British English, beastly is sometimes used as an informal intensifier to mean very, extremely, or outrageously, as in It’s beastly cold out there or That was a beastly rude thing to do. In this case, beastly is used as an adverb, rather than an adjective.

Example: We condemn this beastly attack and the terrorists who perpetrated it.

Where does beastly come from?

The first records of the word beastly come from around 1200. It comes from the Middle English beasteliche.

Its base word, beast, comes from the Latin bēstia, whose original meaning is uncertain. It may have simply been a word meaning “animal.” The suffix -ly is often used to form adverbs and adjectives. Though beast is commonly used in a number of ways, use of beastly is much less common. It’s more common to use synonyms like vile, cruel, or monstrous to describe someone or their actions in such a way.

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What are some other forms related to beastly?

  • beastliness (noun)
  • beast (noun)

What are some synonyms for beastly?

What are some words that share a root or word element with beastly

What are some words that often get used in discussing beastly?

How is beastly used in real life?

Beastly is typically used in a negative way with the exception of its use in British English to mean “very” or “extremely.”


Try using beastly!

Which of the following words is a synonym of beastly

A. nasty
B. cruel
C. vile
D. all of the above

How to use beastly in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for beastly

/ (ˈbiːstlɪ) /

adjective -lier or -liest
informal unpleasant; disagreeable; nastybeastly weather
obsolete of or like a beast; bestial
informal (intensifier)the weather is so beastly hot

Derived forms of beastly

beastliness, noun
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