beast·​ly | \ ˈbēst-lē How to pronounce beastly (audio) \
beastlier; beastliest

Definition of beastly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : relating to, characteristic of, or resembling an animal : bestial sense 1 beastly strength Their languages, with complex clicks, were once dismissed as a guttural farrago of beastly sounds.— Stephen Jay Gould
b : characterized by cruelty, brutality, or crudeness Yet this beastly little man was capable of exquisite humor and tenderness.— Edmund Morris
2 informal : extremely unpleasant, disagreeable, or undesirable beastly weather It took him ages to get the beastly stuff out of his eyes and eyebrows, and as for his beard, he had to cut most of it off.— J. R. R. Tolkien At the beastly hour of 9:40 a.m. we trudged up to our nosebleed seats, wobbling like prizefighters in the final round, for the NFL preseason game between the Chargers and the Denver Broncos …— Gary Smith
3 : monstrously large or powerful … the staging area was packed with an eclectic mix of vehicles, from humble hatchbacks to beastly trucks.— Lisa Rose Workers with acetylene torches and a beastly contraption called the "dinosaur" are chewing quickly through the rusting old railroad tunnel …— Tim O'Neill



Definition of beastly (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British, informal : to an extreme and usually unpleasant degree "It's no good pretending it isn't an awkward situation," continued Bob, "because it is. Beastly awkward."— P. G. Wodehouse : in an unpleasant or beastly manner … an ideological predisposition to believe the Soviet Union will embrace comity if only Washington doesn't act beastly.— Woody West

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Other Words from beastly


beastliness noun

Examples of beastly in a Sentence


left to shift for himself on an isolated farm, he gradually sank into a beastly, purposeless existence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Burton’s story treatment envisioned Hank McCoy struggling to keep his beastly mutation under control at the X Mansion while working with another scientist grappling with a similar mutation, a man who’s been terrorizing an Inuit village. Nick Romano,, "X-Men franchise editor once pitched a solo Beast movie — read the script," 15 June 2019 Reaching lengths of 15 feet or more, the beastly fish also have voracious appetites, devouring everything from sea turtles to rubber tires. Joel Sartore, National Geographic, "Giant tiger sharks eat backyard birds, surprising study reveals," 21 May 2019 The 5420 is all about making these beastly machines a little more portable than your average rugged laptop. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Dell tries to make durable laptops more modern with updated Latitude rugged line," 23 Oct. 2018 Go ahead and mosh around to this beastly drop and forget your relationship woes. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Cheat Codes Find Expensive Love and Bass in 'Balenciaga' Video: Exclusive," 4 May 2018 The Kilkenny Cats, fighting and scratching at each other in fratricidal fury, are on the premises, as well as a quartet of beastly angels and Fenrir the Nordic wolf. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lera Auerbach unveils a darkly formidable new piano work," 28 Mar. 2018 The story remains essentially the same as in Arthur Conan Doyle’s original telling, if slightly simplified: Some kind of beastly creature — presumably a supernatural canine — is killing off the Baskerville family. Matthew J. Palm,, "In 'Baskervilles,' talented trio make fun look, well, elementary," 19 Oct. 2017 His beastly approach is quickly proving to be an indelible trademark in the rap game. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "NFL Star Melvin Ingram & Bzzy Team Up for New EP 'Reap What You Sow': Premiere," 25 Aug. 2017 A beastly gang has invaded America’s highways, and just about everybody loves them. Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, "Getting someone’s goat: State officials love their work ethic when it comes to mowing highways," 21 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

O’Reilly has made a case for the Conn Smythe Trophy for most outstanding player in the playoffs with his beastly two-way play. Curtis Zupke,, "Blues center Ryan O'Reilly has ultimate support group for Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final," 11 June 2019 That’s where the other two join him after Kevin at his beastly worst and David at his quasi-holy best cross paths violently on the streets of Philadelphia, where many Shyamalan plots unfold. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Glass’ Review: Shyamalan Shattered," 17 Jan. 2019 That makes them among the first consumer GPUs capable of keeping up with Nvidia’s beastly new $2,000 4K G-Sync HDR monitors, the Acer Predator X27 and Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, without begging for mercy—albeit at a hefty price. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti are loaded with boundary-pushing graphics tech," 20 Aug. 2018 While most are meager, a few turn beastly, exactly as was the case on Monday night. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "‘One of the most incredible sights’: Monster dust storm sweeps across Southern Arizona," 10 July 2018 From the low-end to beastly 32-core prosumer rigs, the PC world is getting really exciting again. Brendan Nystedt, WIRED, "The Best Mac Alternatives," 13 June 2018 Koepka became the first man to turn that impressive trick in nearly three decades by handling a Shinnecock Hills course that varied from beastly to benign. Washington Post, "Koepka’s golf legacy secured after 2nd straight Open win," 18 June 2018 Koepka became the first man to turn that impressive trick in nearly three decades by handling a Shinnecock Hills course that varied from beastly to benign. Barry Wilner, Houston Chronicle, "Brooks Koepka's golf legacy secured after 2nd straight US Open win," 18 June 2018 Tune in to the full video above to learn much, much more about AMD's beastly 32-core Threadripper 2. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "The Full Nerd special episode: AMD's Jim Anderson goes deep on 32-core Threadripper 2," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beastly.' 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 beastly


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


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for beastly

Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beastly

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

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More Definitions for beastly



English Language Learners Definition of beastly

chiefly British : very unpleasant


beast·​ly | \ ˈbēst-lē How to pronounce beastly (audio) \

Kids Definition of beastly

: very unpleasant : horrible beastly behavior

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More from Merriam-Webster on beastly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beastly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beastly

Spanish Central: Translation of beastly

Nglish: Translation of beastly for Spanish Speakers

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characterized by aphorism

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