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animal

Syllabification: an·i·mal
Pronunciation: /ˈanəməl
 
/

Definition of animal in English:

noun

1A living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli: animals such as spiders wild animals adapt badly to a caged life humans are the only animals who weep
More example sentences
  • There are all sorts of ways in which an animal can organise a response when faced with a particular situation.
  • These animals are herbivores, specializing on the flowers of creosote bushes.
  • Rabies affects the central nervous system of animals and causes behavioral changes.
1.1A living organism other than a human being: are humans superior to animals, or just different?
More example sentences
  • The animals must also be fed an organic diet and be allowed to roam freely.
  • Let's remind ourselves how BSE came about: because farmers fed animals to animals.
  • We rest the herd near camp on a large area of tundra where the animals can feed.
Synonyms
creature, beast, living thing
informal critter, beastie
(animals)wildlife, fauna
1.2A mammal, as opposed to a bird, reptile, fish, or insect: the snowfall seemed to have chased all birds, animals, and men indoors
More example sentences
  • Just because the animal, fish, bird or insect doesn't die in front of you, that doesn't mean you are not killing it.
  • Unlike dogs and birds and other advanced animals, fish don't feel pain.
  • This makes redwood lumber companies the guardians of the birds, animals and fish that live on their property.
1.3A person whose behavior is regarded as devoid of human attributes or civilizing influences, especially someone who is very cruel, violent, or repulsive: those men have to be animals—what they did to that boy was savage
More example sentences
  • He's just brute strength. You get him into the weight room and he's just an animal. You just walk by and you can sense how powerful he is.
  • "He's just an animal," Schimeck, a defensive end, said. "He's one of the hardest kids I've ever had to tackle. He puts his shoulder down and he'll just run you over."
  • Your unthinking hatred of all things public and your disconnect with history and reality, doom you to the status of a mindless animal.
Synonyms
informal swine, bastard, pig
1.4 [with adjective or noun modifier] A particular type of person or thing: I am a political animal the government that followed the election was a very different animal
More example sentences
  • The first examples of an entirely new species of business animal are beginning to appear, after a gestation period that can be measured in years rather than months.
  • He is a class animal and the question is whether Rangers have a cage big enough to hold him.
  • I realise I may not be a typical radio animal, but I suspect I'm not unique either, so how is it that all of these stations continue to claim me as theirs?

Animals are generally distinguished from plants by being unable to synthesize organic molecules from inorganic ones, so that they have to feed on plants or on other animals. They are typically able to move about, although this ability is sometimes restricted to a particular stage in the life cycle. The great majority of animals are invertebrates, of which there are some thirty phyla; the vertebrates constitute but a single subphylum. See also higher animals, lower animals

adjective

[attributive] Back to top  
1Of, relating to, or characteristic of animals: a wide range of animal species animal welfare
More example sentences
  • These masks combine avian and marine animal characteristics with the tusks and horns of land animals.
  • Teams of police and wildlife agents are training to shut down markets and curbside animal vendors.
  • Jellyfish belong to one of the oldest extant animal phyla, the Cnidaria.
1.1Of animals as distinct from plants: tissues of animal and vegetable protein
More example sentences
  • The rubble scattered over much of the area makes it an ideal home for plant and animal species that would more normally be found in broken coastal areas.
  • Since most pesticides are not biodegradable, once they enter the food chain they persist in plant or animal bodies.
  • We added copper, cobalt, selenium, molybdenum, etc to the deficient soils and transformed the plant and animal health.
1.2Characteristic of the physical and instinctive needs of animals; of the flesh rather than the spirit or intellect: a crude surrender to animal lust
More example sentences
  • The meaning of human life would be reduced to the physical, base animal instincts, trapped within the contours of the body.
  • Can the legend be explained by animal instinct and natural intelligence alone, or did a true friendship develop between these two hunters of the sea?
  • Christopher crumples to the ground, groans, expressing emotions in a physical, almost animal way, that most of us are incapable of.
Synonyms
carnal, fleshly, bodily, physical;
brutish, beastly, bestial, unrefined, uncultured, coarse

Origin

Middle English: as a noun from Latin animal, based on Latin animalis 'having breath', from anima 'breath'; as an adjective via Old French, from Latin animalis.

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