[li-vahy-uh-thuh n]
See more synonyms for leviathan on Thesaurus.com
  1. (often initial capital letter) Bible. a sea monster.
  2. any huge marine animal, as the whale.
  3. anything of immense size and power, as a huge, oceangoing ship.
  4. (initial capital letter, italics) a philosophical work (1651) by Thomas Hobbes dealing with the political organization of society.

Origin of leviathan

1350–1400; Middle English levyathan < Late Latin leviathanHebrew liwyāthān
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for leviathan

Contemporary Examples of leviathan

Historical Examples of leviathan

British Dictionary definitions for leviathan


  1. Bible a monstrous beast, esp a sea monster
  2. any huge or powerful thing

Word Origin for leviathan

C14: from Late Latin, ultimately from Hebrew liwyāthān, 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 leviathan

late 14c., "sea monster, sea serpent," also regarded as a form of Satan, from Late Latin leviathan, from Hebrew livyathan "dragon, serpent, huge sea animal," of unknown origin, perhaps related to liwyah "wreath," from root l-w-h- "to wind, turn, twist." Of powerful persons or things from c.1600. Hobbes's use is from 1651.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

leviathan in Culture



A sea monster mentioned in the Book of Job, where it is associated with the forces of chaos and evil.


Figuratively, a “leviathan” is any enormous beast.


Leviathan is a work on politics by the seventeenth-century English author Thomas Hobbes.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.