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 Those days are long gone, and each of those companies—as well as Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. — has become a tech behemoth. Katherine Riley, WSJ, "Tech Giants Cooperate While Competing, Frenemies for Life," 1 Apr. 2021 Throughout the pandemic, the government has depended heavily on medical device behemoth Abbott’s testing options. Hannah Norman, Fortune, "Rapid COVID tests are coming to market alongside vaccines to help America return to normal," 1 Apr. 2021 This bureaucratic behemoth was not created on purpose, at least not in its current form. Robert Maranto, National Review, "Bureaucracy Has Conquered Schools. Joe Biden Won’t Fix It," 21 Mar. 2021 However, there seems to be something stirring this behemoth. Moneyshow, Forbes, "3M, DuPont And J&J: A Fresh Take On 3 Old-Time Names," 5 Mar. 2021 Finally, deputy editor Tony Quiroga shows us the 18.5-foot-long front-drive convertible behemoth that made a mere 215 horsepower from 500 cubic feet of displacement. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "Finding the Cars of Our Childhood: Window Shop with Car and Driver," 5 Mar. 2021 Confirmed on July 2, 2020, by the U.S. Senate to take on this logistical behemoth as chief operating officer, Perna led the effort to connect the dots between manufacturer and distribution sites. Alicia Smith, Washington Examiner, "Operation Warp Speed's success," 21 Jan. 2021 His early months in office were characterized by chaos at the State Department, as then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hollowed out the diplomatic behemoth. Nic Robertson, CNN, "The global stakes of the US election," 3 Nov. 2020 Zeta took advantage of typical late October environmental conditions in the atmosphere and the waters of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico to become a behemoth at landfall Wednesday afternoon near Cocodrie. Mark Schleifstein,, "Hurricane Zeta was an unexpected behemoth storm. How did it become so strong, so fast?," 29 Oct. 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

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

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Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Behemoth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of behemoth

: something very big and powerful

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