1

animal

noun an·i·mal \ ˈa-nə-məl \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of animal

1 :any of a kingdom (Animalia) of living things including many-celled organisms and often many of the single-celled ones (such as protozoans) that typically differ from plants in having cells without cellulose walls, in lacking chlorophyll and the capacity for photosynthesis, in requiring more complex food materials (such as proteins), in being organized to a greater degree of complexity, and in having the capacity for spontaneous movement and rapid motor responses to stimulation
2 a :one of the lower animals (see 3lower 3) as distinguished from human beings
b :mammal; broadly :vertebrate
3 :a human being considered chiefly as physical or nonrational; also :this nature
4 :a person with a particular interest or aptitude
  • a political animal
  • He's a party animal.
5 :matter, thing
  • the theater … is an entirely different animal
  • —Arthur Miller
; also :creature 1c

animallike

play \-mə(l)-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of animal in a Sentence

  1. the animals in the zoo

  2. the plants and animals of the forest

  3. She loves all kinds of animals.

  4. Fish, birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, and human beings are all animals.

  5. You're all behaving like a bunch of animals.

Recent Examples of animal from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'animal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Latin anima means “breath” or “soul,” and animalis, the adjective that comes from it, means “having breath or soul.” An animal such as a cat or dog can be seen to breathe. Plants breathe too, by taking in certain gases from the atmosphere and releasing others. However, this process cannot be observed by the naked eye. So the noun animal, which comes from animalis, was borrowed from Latin for that group of living beings that breathe visibly.

Origin and Etymology of animal

Latin, from animale, neuter of animalis animate, from anima soul — more at animate

Other Zoology Terms


2

animal

adjective

Definition of animal

1 :of, relating to, resembling, or derived from animals
  • animal instincts
  • animal behavior
2 a :of or relating to the physical or sentient as contrasted with the intellectual or rational
b :sensual, fleshly
  • indulged his animal appetites
3 :of or relating to the animal pole of an egg or to the part from which ectoderm normally develops

animally

play \-mə-lē\ adverb

Examples of animal in a Sentence

  1. several different plant and animal species

  2. milk, meat, and other animal products

  3. People were shocked by the animal brutality of the attack.

Recent Examples of animal from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'animal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of animal

Synonym Discussion of animal

carnal, fleshly, sensual, animal mean having a relation to the body. carnal may mean only this but more often connotes derogatorily an action or manifestation of a person's lower nature.
    • a slave to carnal desires
fleshly is less derogatory than carnal.
    • a saint who had experienced fleshly temptations
sensual may apply to any gratification of a bodily desire or pleasure but commonly implies sexual appetite with absence of the spiritual or intellectual.
    • fleshpots providing sensual delights
animal stresses the physical as distinguished from the rational nature of a person.
    • led a mindless animal existence

Other Zoology Terms



ANIMAL Defined for English Language Learners

animal

noun

Definition of animal for English Language Learners

  • : a living thing that is not a human being or plant

  • : any living thing that is not a plant

  • : a person who behaves in a wild, aggressive, or unpleasant way


animal

adjective

Definition of animal for English Language Learners

  • : of or relating to animals

  • : coming from the bodies of animals

  • : of or relating to the body and not to the mind


ANIMAL Defined for Kids

animal

noun an·i·mal \ ˈa-nə-məl \

Definition of animal for Students

1 :any member of the kingdom of living things (as earthworms, crabs, birds, and people) that differ from plants typically in being able to move about, in not having cell walls made of cellulose, and in depending on plants and other animals as sources of food
2 :any of the animals lower than humans in the natural order
  • the animals in the zoo
3 :mammal
  • the birds and animals of the forest

Word Root of animal

The Latin word anima, meaning “breath” or “spirit,” gives us the root anim. Words from the Latin anima have something to do with having breath or spirit. An animal is a living creature that breathes and can move around on its own. To animate something is to give it breath or life. Someone magnanimous has a courageous spirit.


Medical Dictionary

1

animal

noun an·i·mal \ ˈan-ə-məl \

medical Definition of animal

1 :any of a kingdom (Animalia) of living things including many-celled organisms and often many of the single-celled ones (as protozoans) that typically differ from plants in having cells without cellulose walls, in lacking chlorophyll and the capacity for photosynthesis, in requiring more complex food materials (as proteins), in being organized to a greater degree of complexity, and in having the capacity for spontaneous movement and rapid motor response to stimulation
2 a :one of the lower animals as distinguished from human beings
b :mammal; broadly :vertebrate

2

animal

adjective

medical Definition of animal

1 :of, relating to, or derived from animals
2 :of or relating to the animal pole of an egg or to the part from which ectoderm normally develops


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