animal

noun
an·​i·​mal | \ˈa-nə-məl \

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 \ -​mə(l)-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Adjective

animally \ -​mə-​lē \ 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

The tools were distributed throughout layers of dirt, suggesting our unidentified ancient relatives came back to the same site over and over, possibly following animals to hunt. Time, "A Discovery in China Suggests That Human-Like Species Left Africa 250,000 Years Earlier Than Believed," 13 July 2018 Beautiful hikes down winding river-beds, blackberry iced teas next to sprawling mountain views, and a cuddle with every farm animal in sight. Monica Mendal, Vogue, "Inside Harley Viera-Newton’s Dreamy Summer Trip to Blackberry Farm," 10 July 2018 That double whammy means that in old animals, including people, fewer and fewer cells are young and functional. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Hope for creaky old humans: removing aged cells from mice can restore their youth, study finds," 9 July 2018 But there is one animal that the military has had significantly less success in conscripting, and that is the bat. Lucy Cooke, ajc, "US military is interested in bats as possible defenders against bioweapons," 3 July 2018 But there is one animal that the military has had significantly less success in conscripting, and that is the bat. Lucy Cooke, Washington Post, "The batty, explosive history of bats in the military — and why this new idea just might work," 2 July 2018 Eventually, there will be more than 2,000 sea animals. Lori Weisberg, sandiegouniontribune.com, "New Legoland submarine taking its guests into the "deep sea" — sharks, stringrays included," 1 July 2018 Then, along comes a terrestrial animal that accidentally ingests the parasite while grazing or eating an infected insect. Kim Steutermann Rogers, Smithsonian, "How the Tiniest of Parasites is Taking Down the Mightiest of Monk Seals," 9 July 2018 The disease has not been shown to cause illness in humans, but health experts recommend humans not consume meat from a CWD-positive animal. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Baiting and feeding bans initiated due to CWD-positive deer farm in Marinette County," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 The law also doesn't cover animal races, such as horse racing, which many states already allow. Associated Press, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Supreme Court ruling clears way for legalized sports betting," 14 May 2018 Reducing human beings to animals is a timeworn method for oppression, and for African-Americans in particular, animal rhetoric has been a long-standing tool of white supremacy. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "The Survival Instincts of Atlanta’s Flawless Second Season," 11 May 2018 Carter can now tell you in detail the construction of the colon and the pancreas, and how animal meat and fat can play havoc there. Debbi Snook, cleveland.com, "Why former NFL lineman David Carter switched to a completely plant-based diet (photos, recipe)," 2 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

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

Adjective

see animal entry 1

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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 \

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 \

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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