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 animal (audio) \ adjective

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for animal

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 State health officials said Monday that the area is closed due to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, a sign of contamination from human or animal waste. Tristan Baurick, NOLA.com, "Four men caught harvesting polluted oysters in Terrebonne Parish," 4 Jan. 2021 To remedy this, my goal is to learn about more bird, insect, plant and animal species that Florida home. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Central Florida Explorer’s New Year’s resolutions for 2021," 28 Dec. 2020 Plant and animal specialists are still analyzing remains from the site, with its counter frescoed with a figure of an undersea nymph astride a horse. Frances D'emilio, chicagotribune.com, "Mallards, goats, snails, wine: Archaeologists dig up a fast-food spot in Pompeii," 26 Dec. 2020 The complex diversity of plant and animal life is being lost as one species takes over. Greg Stanley, Star Tribune, "As fertilizers spread worldwide, researchers find herbivores can't keep up with excess grasses," 26 Dec. 2020 The routine simulation exercises are to prioritize community involvement in preparedness efforts, build trust and engage stakeholders such as representatives of human and animal health, local leaders, youth and more, according to the report. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, "Fact check: COVID-19 pandemic is not a simulation," 24 Dec. 2020 There cannot be anything more responsible and rewarding than feeding your soul and uplifting your spirit while supporting thousands of human and animal lives that depend on it. Deborah Calmeyer, Travel + Leisure, "What It's Like to Travel to Kenya Right Now, According to a Travel Advisor Who Just Went," 23 Dec. 2020 From this communion of human, animal, and machine, Leonora was conceived. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, "How Leonora Carrington Feminized Surrealism," 21 Dec. 2020 Over the past 15 years, the institute has sequenced eDNA from researchers studying deep sea thermal vents, Arctic permafrost, ocean mud, Greek lagoons, deep African gold mines, human and animal intestines, and more. Monique Brouillette, Wired, "A New Field Guide for Earth’s Wild Microbes," 18 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As a child, he was raised with traditional beliefs about male, female and animal deities who had created the world and given power and good fortune to the Apache people. Smithsonian Magazine, "The Case of the Autographed Corpse," 19 Nov. 2020 Eat Just already produces a range of non-animal products, including Just Egg, made with mung beans, and a vegan mayonnaise. Amy Woodyatt And Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "Singapore becomes first country to approve lab-grown meat," 2 Dec. 2020 Something of a wonder crop, gram for gram, kelp and other seaweeds have as much protein as beef and are one of few non-animal sources of Vitamin B12 (which helps to make DNA and keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy). Ed Scott-clarke And Tom Page, CNN, "This underwater farmer wants us to eat more seaweed," 20 Nov. 2020 No one is suggesting humans should die instead—there's a non-animal version of the same substance that’s identical and totally appropriate for this usage. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "How the Coronavirus Vaccine Could Kill Half a Million Sharks," 13 Oct. 2020 Fort Bend County Precinct 3 Constable Wayne Thompson established anti-animal cruelty taskforce with a full-time dedicated investigator in the county. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "SUNDAY CONVERSATION: Constable Wayne Thompson takes aim at animal cruelty," 12 July 2020 After nearly 20 years of cleanup, the lower Fox River is now nearly clear of industrial contaminants that pose risks to human and animal health, Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Still a lot more to do' as Evers, environmental leaders announce end of Fox River dredging project," 1 Sep. 2020 Because a duck that has made it to March has survived both human and animal predators on its journey south. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "Why Don’t We Hunt Ducks in the Spring?," 28 Aug. 2020 According to the Mayo Clinic, there a few ways of contracting the fungus: human to human, animal to human (cats are a common source) and object to human (clothing, towels, bedding, combs and brushes). Mona Gohara, Good Housekeeping, "7 Scalp Conditions That Cause Bumps or Spots — And How to Treat Them," 27 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for animal

Time Traveler

The first known use of animal was in the 14th century

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Statistics for animal

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Animal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/animal. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for animal

animal

noun
How to pronounce animal (audio)

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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