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

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 The store had been donating feed to care for animals displaced in the Ocotillo Fire. John D'anna, azcentral, "Cave Creek residents fear apparent arson at feed store may be tied to protests," 1 June 2020 Unlike a zoo, this 5.3-mile-long fence exists to keep animals out. Mara Johnson-groh, Wired, "The Quest to Purge New Zealand of Invasive Predators," 30 May 2020 Your odds of seeing wild animals — ranging from arctic ground squirrels, marmots and Dall sheep to bears and moose — are good, considering the trail isn’t as trafficked as others in the Chugach. Bailey Berg, Anchorage Daily News, "Hikes near Anchorage, no matter how much time you have," 28 May 2020 After some legal wrangling, the service again proposed protection for the animals in 2014 but reversed itself two years later, saying voluntary measures would be sufficient to protect the species. oregonlive, "Pacific fisher again denied endangered species protection in Oregon," 19 May 2020 The zoo’s president, Clement Lanthier, said this week the facility spent months trying to overcome transportation barriers in acquiring fresh bamboo and decided it’s best for the animals to be in China, where their main food source is abundant. BostonGlobe.com, "European countries offer more economic relief from pandemic," 15 May 2020 Beyond her deep love for animals, Borbeck has a professional respect for Cupid's role caring for her patient. Lauren Lee, CNN, "Not just another patient: A nurse cared for a blind veteran and his guide dog while they were locked down in the hospital," 13 May 2020 While shelters are glad to see animals finding homes, there is a shared concern. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Abiding the stay-at-home order, people look for animal shelters and pets for company," 5 May 2020 As Texas prepares to lift its stay-at-home order amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the San Antonio Zoo has found a way to bring in families eager to see some animals while practicing social distancing. Jordan Culver, USA TODAY, "San Antonio Zoo offers 'one-of-a-kind' drive-thru experience as Texas prepares to emerge from coronavirus quarantine," 30 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective When the game begins, the player only has a tent and two animal friends rather than a preexisting village stocked with talking animals. Ed Masley, azcentral, "What is Animal Crossing? What to know about the Nintendo game everyone's obsessing over," 15 Apr. 2020 In a separate paper published on the cave earlier this year, researchers reported discovering 15,000 animal bones in the cave, most from monkeys and squirrels. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Tiny Stone Tools Show Humans Hunted in the Rainforest 45,000 Years Ago," 7 Oct. 2019 That’s right, whale poop...because what kid doesn’t find animal poop fascinating? Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "This Virtual Marine Biology Camp for Kids Is Fun and Educational," 25 Mar. 2020 He’s portrayed as someone who also had a passion for exotic animals and wanted to help bail Exotic out of his legal troubles with animal sanctuary owner Carole Baskin. Gina Vaynshteyn, refinery29.com, "Jeff Lowe From Tiger King Has Some Thoughts About The Popular Docuseries," 30 Mar. 2020 For those wondering, the furry fandom is a community of enthusiasts who celebrate characters and stories involving anthropomorphic animals -- in other words -- fictitious animal characters that have human traits. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "A group of 'furries' stopped a domestic violence assault and helped police make the arrest," 21 Jan. 2020 To determine the best trap for your offender, call your local animal wildlife officer or state wildlife agency. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, "How to Get Rid of Snakes, From Copperhead to Garden," 17 Dec. 2019 In the first round of testing, results showed that 32 of 35 wells were contaminated with either human or animal waste, or both. Lee Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Study ties well contamination in southwestern Wisconsin to human and livestock sources," 3 Dec. 2019 All were animal studies with a small sample size, and none were combined with a THC vaping fluid. Cosby Stone, The Conversation, "Vitamin E and vaping injuries: What’s safe in your diet is rarely safe in your lungs," 22 Nov. 2019

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

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Animal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/animal. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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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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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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