noun, often attributive
be·​he·​moth | \ bi-ˈhē-məth, ˈbē-ə-məth, -ˌmäth, -ˌmȯth \

Definition of behemoth

1 often capitalized, religion : a mighty animal described in Job 40:15–24 as an example of the power of God
2 : something of monstrous size, power, or appearance a behemoth truck

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Did You Know?

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.

Examples of behemoth in a Sentence

the newest SUV is a gas-guzzling behemoth that doesn't even fit in a standard parking space

Recent Examples on the Web

The tech behemoth reportedly has no plans for paid subscriptions for the Dating service and it will be restricted to only users over the age of 18 in the United States. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Facebook Dating offerings can be seen in leaked pre-launch screenshots," 6 Aug. 2018 Indeed, e-commerce, once the sole domain of behemoths like Amazon, now fuels Main Street's growth. Steve Strauss, USA TODAY, "USA & Main: Welcome to USA TODAY's new storefront for small businesses and entrepreneurs," 7 June 2018 People love their guns, hold on to them dearly, and source many of their gun accessories from behemoths like Google and Amazon. Nick Pachelli, Esquire, "You Can Still Buy Guns Here," 1 Mar. 2018 In effect, the social-media behemoths have all the power of legacy media establishments, but few of the responsibilities. Jeet Heer, New Republic, "Ban Facebook Before Elections," 23 Feb. 2018 And while that sounds like a rather grand way to put it, what has become very clear to me is that the ability of anyone in retail to fend off the online — and increasingly offline — retail behemoth is moving toward nil. Kara Swisher, Recode, "Amazon is dominant online, but local retail still has advantages Jeff Bezos can’t replicate," 12 Nov. 2018 Starting as a new way to sell books in the early years of the internet, Amazon has grown to an online behemoth and has changed the retail landscape across the world. Rachel Lerman, The Seattle Times, "Amazon becomes nation’s second public trillion-dollar company," 4 Sep. 2018 If Fila, the Italian sportswear behemoth is the river, then Fila Fjord, under the creative direction of Andersen, is the inlet: a gentler, meditative place to reflect on athleisure and luxury. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Introducing Fila Fjord, a New Brand Helmed by Astrid Andersen," 4 Dec. 2018 The behemoth AC72s are about harnessing power while staying upright, a skill Ellison's Oracle team had mastered in 2010, when Oracle's 90-foot wing-sail trimaran trounced Bertarelli's traditional-sail catamaran. Luke O'brien, Town & Country, "Hot Pursuit," 1 Sep. 2013

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for behemoth

Middle English, from Late Latin, from Hebrew bĕhēmōth

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for behemoth

The first known use of behemoth was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of behemoth

: something very big and powerful

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Comments on behemoth

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


to gather or build up little by little

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