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 There’s all kinds of things that could happen to this animal. chicagotribune.com, "Indiana state news," 21 Sep. 2020 After all, using a cute animal in a costume to lighten the mood is one of Hollywood’s oldest tricks. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "The 2020 Emmys: A Big Night for “Schitt’s Creek,” “Watchmen,” and Tuxedo-Print Hazmat Suits," 21 Sep. 2020 Marilyn Monroe is sort of the spirit animal for Roi. Washington Post, "Woodley Park’s Marilyn Monroe mural is once again ready for its close-up," 21 Sep. 2020 Throughout the series, viewers will witness the relationships between keepers and animals as well as how the park’s residents partake in their medical care, including a pregnant animal voluntarily participating in an ultrasound. Kathleen Christiansen, orlandosentinel.com, "New National Geographic show on Disney Plus explores Animal Kingdom and Epcot," 20 Sep. 2020 Any animal with lungs can be in serious trouble from exposure to wildfire smoke, and of course squirrels and birds can’t retreat into a house, close all the windows and turn on an air purifier. oregonlive, "Oregon wildfires can stress, damage health of wild animals that survive, upend bird migrations," 18 Sep. 2020 Onstage, the band sometimes add intros or outros to songs, to keep the music a live animal and not a recital. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "Next wave Alabama musicians: An angry band for angry times," 18 Sep. 2020 The Red Lake Band considers the bear a spiritual animal and does not permit nontribal members to hunt bears. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Brainerd man pleads guilty to poaching black bear on Red Lake reservation," 17 Sep. 2020 One man tried to flee from the mob, darting in a confused sprint like a hunted animal as blood streamed down his face. Timothy Mclaughlin, Wired, "Hong Kong Is a Troubling Case Study in the Death of Democracy," 17 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 In spring 2006, the federal government issued a 233-page implementation plan that laid out how the government would protect everything from human and animal health to public safety in the face of an outbreak. Michael Grabell, ProPublica, "Meatpacking Companies Dismissed Years of Warnings but Now Say Nobody Could Have Prepared for COVID-19," 20 Aug. 2020 And the action builds to a tense climax on the cargo boat, which also serves as a lab for human and animal experimental trials. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Project Power': Film Review," 14 Aug. 2020 Gone were the days of funny human and animal hijinks; in their place: terror, peril, jeopardy and child endangerment. Kevin Sandler, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Scooby-Doo’s Origins Are Related to the RFK Assassination," 13 May 2020 CNL Strategic Capital has acquired a majority stake in Healthcare Safety Holdings LLC, a producer of daily use insulin pen needles, syringes and related products for the human and animal diabetic care markets. Staff Reports Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Minnesota mergers and acquisitions," 28 July 2020 The event will focus on the human and animal connections, development and youth education. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Zoos, museums reopen; Kings Island sues; vaccine conspiracy; protesters should get tested," 5 June 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

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Animal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/animal. Accessed 27 Sep. 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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