\ˈbēst \

Definition of beast 

1a : a four-footed mammal as distinguished from a human being, a lower vertebrate, and an invertebrate

b : a lower animal as distinguished from a human being

c : an animal as distinguished from a plant

d : an animal under human control

2 : a contemptible person

3 : something formidably difficult to control or deal with

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for beast


bastard, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, jerk, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, schmuck [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], skunk, sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, so-and-so, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint, vermin

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of beast in a Sentence

dogs and other four-footed beasts the birds and beasts of the forest They were attacked by a savage beast. He's a cruel, hateful beast!
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Another is the nature of the beast: many cogs have to mesh to match people and ads in real-time. The Economist, "Who will be the main loser from Europe’s new data-privacy law?," 24 May 2018 The Lochness-like monster is a popular feature in some Georgia folklore, and the beached specimen shows similarities to artists' renderings of the beast. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Strange Sea Creature Washes Ashore, Stumps Scientists," 21 Mar. 2018 Competing interests are the nature of the beast in the tech business, even in these still relatively early days for Internet of Things. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "A smart home sounds like a great idea. So why is it still so complicated?," 12 Jan. 2018 The teacher was an elegant, soft-spoken woman, which was fortunate, because the language was a beast. Thomas Swick, Longreads, "Letters from Trenton," 5 July 2018 Spinosaurus Spinosaurus was the largest land predator that ever lived, a scary-looking beast with a long crocodile snout and a huge sail on its back. Emma Stefansky, GQ, "The Definitive Jurassic Park Dinosaur Power Rankings," 21 June 2018 Thompson was a beast in Game 7 as a starter (15 points, 10 rebounds)., "The Cavaliers and Raptors are playing again in the Eastern Conference semifinals: The matchups," 30 Apr. 2018 Paleontologists rarely find a complete skeleton from a prehistoric beast. Kristin Hugo, Newsweek, "Scientists Are Studying Rotting Animal Carcasses to Understand Why Complete Dinosaur Fossils Are So Rare," 21 Mar. 2018 Not long after Elon Musk’s Tesla built the world’s largest lithium-ion battery—the Hornsdale Power Reserve, which has a rating of 129 megawatt hours—a British industrialist has stepped in with plans for a 140-megawatt-hour beast. David Meyer, Fortune, "Tesla Built the World's Biggest Battery. Now This Billionaire Has Plans to Beat It," 16 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beast.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of beast

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for beast

Middle English beste, from Anglo-French, from Latin bestia

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about beast

Dictionary Entries near beast





beast epic

beast fable

beast god

Statistics for beast

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beast

The first known use of beast was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for beast



English Language Learners Definition of beast

: an animal; especially : a wild animal that is large, dangerous, or unusual

: an unkind or cruel person

: a person or thing of a particular kind


\ˈbēst \

Kids Definition of beast

1 : a mammal with four feet (as a bear or deer) especially as distinguished from human beings beasts of the forest

2 : a wild animal that is large, dangerous, or unusual

3 : a farm animal especially when kept for work beasts of burden

4 : a horrid person

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on beast

What made you want to look up beast? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!