Definition of beast in English:

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Pronunciation: /bēst/


1An animal, especially a large or dangerous four-footed one: a wild beast
More example sentences
  • These cunning warriors are trained from birth to hunt, track and trap the most dangerous beasts in the wild.
  • On landing, the astronaut ‘will be able to deal with wild beasts, sharks and other dangerous animals or enemies’, the website reported.
  • In Dawson, White Fang becomes an attraction, and people come to see the wild beast in the cage.
1.1 (usually beasts) A domestic animal, especially a bovine farm animal.
Example sentences
  • A few years ago he'd often spot the wooly beasts on a neighbouring farm with huge sores on their backsides, weak and hardly able to stand.
  • Under the fire of the sun, the world became green, the crops grew tall and strong, and the beasts of farm and field have grown fat and strong.
  • The huge antler spikes were within a few yards of her, and in a flash of numbing fear she remembered Mortimer's warning, to beware of horned beasts on the farm.
animal, creature
informal critter, varmint
1.2 archaic or humorous An animal as opposed to a human: the gift of reason differentiates humanity from the beasts
More example sentences
  • If that was true, then these business people must be beasts in human form!
  • According to him, the second category of people, which did not contribute to science and knowledge, are more like beasts than human beings.
  • For Overton the line between human and beasts was rather unclear.
1.3An inhumanly cruel, violent, or depraved person: he is a filthy drunken beast
More example sentences
  • I have been the cruelest of beasts, lying to you and all.
  • I also have nothing but praise for the police and law enforcement team - they did a great job and I am glad we have more tools such as DNA testing for catching and convicting sex beasts.
  • That sentence was increased after the intervention of the Home Secretary, who instead insisted on a whole life tariff for the sex beast.
monster, brute, savage, barbarian, animal, swine, pig, ogre, fiend, demon, devil
1.4 informal An objectionable or unpleasant person or thing: a scheming, manipulative little beast
More example sentences
  • He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
  • Ringing in his ears will be his father's warning ‘not to make a beast of yourself’.
  • Where a beautiful, intelligent young woman once stood was a beast of death and heartlessness.
1.5 (the beast) A person’s brutish or untamed characteristics: the beast in you is rearing its ugly head
More example sentences
  • She brings out the beast in men (The Corsair howls at the moon).
  • This is why I shouldn't stop blogging, even if it brings out the beast in me.
  • Blasting up sand hills on roaring machinery brings out the beast in even the sweetest ladies.
1.6 [with adjective] informal A thing or concept possessing a particular quality: that much-maligned beast, the rave record
More example sentences
  • He still had a mysterious air about him and I was afraid of the possessive beast that lurked just below the surface.
  • Unknown to the vast majority of urban-dwelling Scots, this magnificent beast is the subject of one of the most bitter controversies ever to affect wildlife in this country.
  • But he was able to make an incredible impact through the sheer force of his intellect, which made him - even on the backbenches - a big political beast.


Middle English: from Old French beste, based on Latin bestia.

  • animal from Middle English:

    Animals are so called simply because they breathe. The word, used as an adjective in English before the noun became established, originally described any living being, as opposed to something inanimate. Its source is the Latin word animalis, ‘having the breath of life’, from anima ‘air, breath, life’. As a noun, the word was hardly used in England before the end of the 16th century—the older beast (Middle English) from Latin besta was the usual term—and does not appear in the King James Bible of 1611. Animate (Late Middle English) is also from anima. See also mesmerize

Words that rhyme with beast

arriviste, artiste, batiste, dirigiste, east, feast, least, Mideast, modiste, northeast, piste, priest, southeast, uncreased, unreleased, yeast

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: beast

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