noun \ˈbes-chē-ˌer-ē, -ˌe-rē, ˈbesh-, ˈbēs-, ˈbēsh-\
plural bes·ti·ar·ies

Definition of BESTIARY

:  a medieval allegorical or moralizing work on the appearance and habits of real or imaginary animals
a :  a collection of descriptions or representations of real or imaginary animals
b :  an array of real humans or literary characters often having symbolic significance
:  an unusual or whimsical collection <a truly astounding bestiary of airplane designs — Peter Garrison>

Origin of BESTIARY

Medieval Latin bestiarium, from Latin, neuter of bestiarius of beasts, from bestia
First Known Use: 1840

Rhymes with BESTIARY

actuary, adversary, airy-fairy, ancillary, antiquary, apiary, arbitrary, aviary, axillary, bacillary, beriberi, biliary, black raspberry, Bloody Mary, boysenberry, breviary, budgetary, calamari, calamary, candleberry, Canterbury, capillary, carpellary, cassowary, catenary, cautionary, cavitary, cemetery, centenary, certiorari, checkerberry, chinaberry, cometary, commentary, commissary, condottiere, coralberry, corollary, coronary, culinary, customary, dictionary, dietary, dignitary, dromedary, dysentery, elderberry, emissary, estuary, farkleberry, February, formulary, fragmentary, fritillary, functionary, funerary, honorary, huckleberry, intermarry, janissary, January, lamasery, lapidary, lectionary, legendary, legionary, lingonberry, literary, loganberry, luminary, mammillary, mandatary, maxillary, medullary, mercenary, miliary, military, millenary, milliary, millinery, missionary, momentary, monastery, mortuary, necessary, ordinary, ossuary, partridgeberry, pensionary, pigmentary, planetary, Pondicherry, prebendary, presbytery, pulmonary, quaternary, red mulberry, reliquary, rowanberry, salivary, salmonberry, salutary, sanctuary, sanguinary, sanitary, secondary, secretary, sedentary, seminary, silverberry, solitary, sour cherry, stationary, stationery, statuary, subcontrary, sublunary, sugarberry, sumptuary, syllabary, temporary, tertiary, thimbleberry, Tipperary, Tom and Jerry, topiary, tributary, tutelary, Typhoid Mary, unitary, urinary, vestiary, Virgin Mary, visionary, voluntary, vulnerary, Waterbury, whortleberry, winterberry


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Medieval European work in verse or prose, often illustrated, consisting of a collection of stories, each based on a description of certain qualities of the subject, usually an animal or a plant. The stories were allegories, used for moral and religious instruction and admonition. They ultimately were derived from the Greek Physiologus, a text compiled by an unknown author before the mid 2nd century AD. Many traditional attributes of real or mythical creatures derive from bestiaries, such as the phoenix's burning itself to be born again and the parental love of the pelican, which, believed to feed its young by gashing its own breast, became a symbol of Christ.


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