noun, often attributive
be·​he·​moth | \ bi-ˈhē-məth How to pronounce behemoth (audio) , ˈbē-ə-məth, -ˌmäth, -ˌmȯth How to pronounce behemoth (audio) \

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 If not for the intervention by the UK competition authority, Taboola and Outbrain would have combined into an advertising behemoth. Daniel Hanley, Wired, "Ad Mergers Won't Save Journalism. Strict Merger Rules Would," 10 Sep. 2020 Other airlines are also unlikely to bring back the behemoth. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Jumbo Jet Was the Pinnacle of Air Luxury—Now Its Days Are Numbered," 8 Sep. 2020 The second clue also could — maybe, possibly — implicate the online retail behemoth from Washington. Madison Iszler,, "Clues abound in pair of mystery projects. Amazon, we’re looking at you," 3 Sep. 2020 The new gadget fits snugly into the tech behemoth’s burgeoning health care portfolio, industry observers told Erin. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "STAT Health Tech: Google’s government contract to use AI in cancer diagnosis & new data on virtual diabetes coaching," 3 Sep. 2020 Attorney General William Barr is planning to bring the case against the tech behemoth earlier than expected, the New York Times reported Thursday, citing career DOJ lawyers, in order to allow the Trump administration to take credit for the action. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "Trump DOJ to file antitrust lawsuit against Google within weeks: Report," 3 Sep. 2020 Amazon has a long history with Germany's antitrust authority, and now the watchdog is probing the e-commerce behemoth yet again. David Meyer, Fortune, "Amazon punished sellers for price gouging during lockdown. Germany is checking if that was legal," 17 Aug. 2020 About 40 more fire personnel had joined the fight, totaling 500 battling a 32,000-acre behemoth. Lizzie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Hennessey Fire’s trail from Napa County to Vacaville," 3 Sep. 2020 By dividing a nuclear facility into an array of smaller reactors, they can largely be manufactured in a factory and then dropped into place, saving us from having to build a complex, possibly one-of-a-kind behemoth on site. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "NuScale’s small nuclear reactor is first to get US safety approval," 1 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for behemoth

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Behemoth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for behemoth


How to pronounce behemoth (audio) How to pronounce behemoth (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of behemoth

: something very big and powerful

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