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 Members were given mere hours to review the 5,593-page behemoth legislation before voting. Elizabeth Thompson, Dallas News, "Here’s how the Texas congressional delegation voted on the massive $2.3 trillion spending bill," 22 Dec. 2020 China’s pipeline network behemoth inked a $6.3 billion asset purchase in the latest step to bolster the nation’s energy security and break down market barriers., "China Pipeline Giant to Buy Kunlun Assets for $6.3 Billion," 22 Dec. 2020 The zoo’s behemoth pachyderms got to stomp, crush and devour several giant pumpkins. oregonlive, "Oregon Zoo elephants devour giant pumpkins in annual Squishing of the Squash," 23 Oct. 2020 From targeting ads for bizarrely specific T-shirts to manipulating an electorate, the questionable purposes to which the social media behemoth can be put are numerous. Grace Huckins, Wired, "An AI Used Facebook Data to Predict Mental Illness," 14 Dec. 2020 Established in the 1860s in Vevey, a small town on the shores of Lake Geneva that remains its home to this day, it has long been seen as an opaque behemoth with an insular culture and the occasional brush with scandal. The Economist, "Schumpeter Nestlé gives a flavour of the future," 3 Dec. 2020 Tesla’s $454 billion market value now exceeds that of retail behemoth Walmart, the largest company in the U.S. by revenue. Jack Pitcher, Fortune, "Elon Musk is now the third-richest person in the world. Here’s how much he’s worth," 31 Aug. 2020 Ransomware operators are continuing their blitz on corporations with deep pockets, with Jack Daniel’s distiller Brown-Forman and cruise line behemoth Carnival being two of the latest to be hit. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Booze and cruise providers are the latest to be hit by ransomware scourge," 18 Aug. 2020 The behemoth in question is marked by a semi-circular cluster of peaks in the Aleutian Islands known as the Islands of the Four Mountains (IFM). Maya Wei-haas, Science, "Alaska islands may be part of single, massive volcano," 4 Dec. 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

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Behemoth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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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