Definition of monster in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɒnstə/


1A large, ugly, and frightening imaginary creature: a monster with the head of a hyena and hindquarters of a wolf a world of fable, inhabited by other-worldly monsters
More example sentences
  • She was made into a horrid, ugly monster.
  • From the mountain chain before them emerged a terrifying creature, a monster, a demon to be precise.
  • A family sleeping together is safe from things that go bump in the night, whether imaginary monsters or real predators on the savannah.
fabulous creature, mythical creature
giant, mammoth, colossus, leviathan, behemoth, titan, Brobdingnagian, monstrosity
informal jumbo
1.1An inhumanly cruel or wicked person: he was an unfeeling, treacherous monster
More example sentences
  • Please don't be as uncivilized, thoughtless, and cruel as the monsters who committed these senseless acts.
  • She was a fraud, a monster, and a cruel mean beast.
  • He became a monster, a cruel and crafty invader who was stopped only by epic courage and perseverance.
brute, fiend, beast, ogre, devil, demon, barbarian, savage, villain, sadist, animal, bogeyman
informal bastard, swine, pig
Scottish informal radge
vulgar slang shit
1.2 humorous A rude or badly behaved person, typically a child: he’s only a year old, but already he is a little monster
More example sentences
  • So no ducking under the duvet, then, when your little monster threatens to waken the neighbours, if not the dead, with his wee-small-hours wake-up call.
  • If your little monster wants to look even more scary, there are face painters to give them the ultimate Sunday makeover.
  • After the better part of an hour I think the little monster was getting tired, finally.
rascal, imp, wretch, mischief-maker, rogue, devil
informal horror, scamp, scallywag, tyke, monkey
archaic rip, scapegrace, rapscallion
British informal perisher
British informal, dated pickle
North American informal varmint, hellion
2A thing of extraordinary or daunting size: this is a monster of a book, almost 500 pages [as modifier]: a monster 36lb carp
More example sentences
  • For my money I got a monster of a sandwich, complete with a side serving of salad and dressing.
  • Also, Tony scored a monster of a point after 28 minutes, following an excellent pass from Michael.
  • She had a monster of a van ready and was waiting for us.
3A congenitally malformed or mutant animal or plant.
Example sentences
  • Many of these aquatic monsters are thought to be seriously threatened by overfishing and habitat destruction.
  • Museums and private collectors have for centuries preserved specimens of monsters and mutants.


[with object] British informal
Criticize or reprimand severely: my mum used to monster me for coming home so late
More example sentences
  • However, they fear that if this was attempted they would be monstered for being too open or too uncertain about critical areas of public concern.
  • Or would he have been monstered for settling for defeat?
  • Clearly, anything short of Section 28 restated was going to be monstered.


Late Middle English: from Old French monstre, from Latin monstrum 'portent or monster', from monere 'warn'.

  • monitor from early 16th century:

    Today's familiar uses of monitor, for a computer or TV screen or for checking the progress or quality of something, date only from the mid 20th century. A much earlier sense was ‘a reminder or warning’, reflecting its origin in Latin monere ‘to warn’, the source also of admonish (Middle English), monster (Late Middle English), and monument (Middle English). A monitor lizard is a large tropical lizard, in Australia also called a goanna (a L19th corruption of iguana), whose name derives from the way its reactions can warn people of the presence of a venomous creature. In schools from the 16th century a monitor was a pupil with responsibility for supervising and disciplining other pupils, who in the past might have done some teaching.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mon|ster

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