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

Camp’ and ‘2019’, and smaller ones with flowers, animals and unicorns. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Here Are All the Fashion References You Might Have Missed from the 2019 Met Gala," 7 May 2019 Their potential hosts include wild animals, humans, and of course, pets. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "What to Do If Your Dog Has a Tick Bite," 19 Apr. 2019 There is scientific evidence in both humans and animals to support CBD’s pain-relieving effects in arthritis. The Editors, Marie Claire, "10 Health Issues CBD Could Solve," 17 Apr. 2019 Raccoons, marmots, mice, and other small animals have been known to pilfer tasty morsels when given the chance. Kraig Becker, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up Camp," 2 Apr. 2019 Chanel may similarly inspire competitors to distance themselves from fur as well as animal skins. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Chanel is the latest in a wave of fashion designers to part ways with fur," 5 Dec. 2018 This isn’t the first time that people have taken Apple to task for its animal and insect emoji errors. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Monterey Bay Aquarium takes Apple to task for its backward squid emoji," 5 Dec. 2018 The model dressed as character Loana (played by actress Raquel Welch), clad in what was basically an animal-skin bra top and loincloth-like bottom. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski Wore a Fur Bikini for a “One Million Years B.C” Halloween Costume," 1 Nov. 2018 Over the centuries, each sign has developed its own associations — including myths, animals, and colors — and its own characteristics. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "Each Zodiac Sign's Unique Personality Traits, Explained by an Astrologer," 28 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Most are animal studies; human studies typically have small sample sizes of fewer than 25 people. Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ, "Collagen, a Wrinkle-Cream Staple, Catches On in Foods," 14 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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