animal

noun
an·​i·​mal | \ ˈa-nə-məl How to pronounce animal (audio) \

Definition of animal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
2a : one of the lower animals (see lower entry 3 sense 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 sense 1c

animal

adjective

Definition of animal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, resembling, or derived from animals animal instincts animal behavior
2a : 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

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Other Words from animal

Noun

animallike \ ˈa-​nə-​mə(l)-​ˌlīk How to pronounce animallike (audio) \ adjective

Adjective

animally \ ˈa-​nə-​mə-​lē How to pronounce animally (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for animal

Synonyms: Noun

beast, beastie, brute, creature, critter

Synonyms: Adjective

bodily, carnal, corporal, corporeal, fleshly, material, physical, somatic

Antonyms: Adjective

nonmaterial, nonphysical

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Choose the Right Synonym for animal

Adjective

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

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.

Examples of animal in a Sentence

Noun

the animals in the zoo the plants and animals of the forest She loves all kinds of animals. Fish, birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, and human beings are all animals. You're all behaving like a bunch of animals.

Adjective

several different plant and animal species milk, meat, and other animal products People were shocked by the animal brutality of the attack.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For animal crimes, people didn’t know where to call. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "SUNDAY CONVERSATION: Constable Heap receives state award for achievements," 14 July 2019 But these particular CISs are used against animal cells. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Biotech notebook: Cancer discovery, bacterial syringes and organoids," 13 July 2019 One of the zoo’s most popular attractions is back for a second year with bright, elaborate nighttime lantern displays, spread out between the animal exhibits. cleveland.com, "Cleveland Flea, Carly Rae Jepsen and 15 more things to do in Cleveland this weekend, July 13-14," 13 July 2019 Algiguin was arrested and later charged with animal cruelty and refusal to provide medical treatment to the dog, according to police and court records. Claire Rafford, azcentral, "Dog stabbed by its owner in Phoenix, now in critical condition," 13 July 2019 Wanda Merling, deputy director for animal cruelty and response for the Humane Society of the United States, told AccuWeather. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Reminder: It's Illegal to Tie up Pets During a Hurricane or Flood in Louisiana," 12 July 2019 The county did not disclose the age or gender of the four new cases confirmed this week, but said all of the patients visited the fair’s animal exhibits and petting zoos. Ramona Sentinel, "County E. coli cases reach 10 confirmed, one probable," 12 July 2019 Other animal lovers are dismayed by the number of dogs and cats abandoned to shelters. Roxanne Roberts, Anchorage Daily News, "When is the best time to clone your dog?," 11 July 2019 Cochineal, created by crushing up Dactylopius coccus, a species of scale insect, is safe to handle and consume, but its safety is trumped in the minds of some by its animal origin. The Economist, "A team of chemists are searching for a new red pigment," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The owner of the heavily wooded property, whose name was not released, has been arrested and faces animal cruelty charges, according to Tyler television station KLTV-TV. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "More than 150 malnourished horses seized from East Texas rescue property," 27 June 2019 Her outfit combined two of spring 2019's biggest trends: bright orange and animal print. Glamour, "Priyanka Chopra Wore a $130 Mango Blazer With $695 Boots," 11 Apr. 2019 Many if not most animal activists focus on factory farming, which is undoubtedly a huge problem, killing about 9.2 billion animals in the US in 2015 alone. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "How to be a better carnivore," 14 Nov. 2018 Looking to eat less animal protein, but beans produce too much gas for your comfort? SELF, "Why This Registered Dietitian Tells (Some of) Her Patients to Avoid Kale Salads," 30 Nov. 2018 She was also fitted with a satellite tag so animal rescuers can monitor her. Gabrielle Russon, OrlandoSentinel.com, "SeaWorld: Good news animal story — 'Sharkie' the dolphin set free," 2 July 2018 The portal includes articles from the dozen or so animal advocacy groups TripAdvisor consulted with when first introducing its new policy. Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY, "Animal welfare for travelers: How to enjoy wildlife without harming it," 27 Apr. 2018 These private groups showcase more than just animal parts. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "Tusks, Horns, and Claws: The Fight to Dismantle the Facebook Animal Parts Bazaar," 5 June 2018 So mushrooms are messing with our minds and probably animal minds. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Author Michael Pollan on Recode Decode," 22 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of animal

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for animal

Noun and Adjective

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

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More Definitions for animal

animal

noun

English Language Learners Definition of animal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of animal (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to animals
: coming from the bodies of animals
: of or relating to the body and not to the mind

animal

noun
an·​i·​mal | \ ˈa-nə-məl How to pronounce animal (audio) \

Kids Definition of animal

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

animal

noun
an·​i·​mal | \ ˈan-ə-məl How to pronounce animal (audio) \

Medical Definition of animal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
2a : one of the lower animals as distinguished from human beings
b : mammal broadly : vertebrate

animal

adjective

Medical Definition of animal (Entry 2 of 2)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on animal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for animal

Spanish Central: Translation of animal

Nglish: Translation of animal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of animal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on animal

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