Definition of behemoth
- a behemoth truck
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the newest SUV is a gas-guzzling behemoth that doesn't even fit in a standard parking space
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The original behemoth was biblical; it designated a mysterious river-dwelling beast in the Book of Job. Based on that description, scholars have concluded that the biblical behemoth was probably inspired by a hippopotamus, but details about the creature's exact nature were vague. The word first passed from the Hebrew into Late Latin, where, according to English poet and monk John Lydgate, writing in 1430, it "playne expresse[d] a beast rude full of cursednesse." In English, behemoth was eventually applied more generally to anything large and powerful.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
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