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

The shorthand for search giant Baidu Inc., e-commerce titan Alibaba Group, and online gaming behemoth Tencent Holdings is commonplace in the country's business vernacular. Fortune, "Baidu Loses, Then Regains, Its Spot in China’s 5 Most Valuable Internet Companies," 16 Aug. 2019 Begemot is the Russian word for hippopotamus, and behemoth. Sam Patten, WIRED, "Kostya and Me: How Sam Patten Got Ensnared in Mueller’s Probe," 14 Aug. 2019 For spa serenity: the Bodrum Edition Created by ultra-hip New York hotelier Ian Schrager and accommodation behemoth Marriott International, the Bodrum Edition is located in Yalikavak, just minutes from Bodrum Castle and Bodrum Amphitheatre. Chris Leadbeater, National Geographic, "Discover Turkey’s under-the-radar seaside paradise," 14 Aug. 2019 For two days, the online retail behemoth is offering deals on pretty much everything, including exercise gear for gym rats, runners, and all-around active people, exclusively for Prime members. Amy Roberts, USA TODAY, "The very best Prime Day fitness deals of 2019," 15 July 2019 The online behemoth already has arrangements with department store chain Kohl’s Corp. and consumer-electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Sebastian Herrera, WSJ, "Amazon Adds Rite Aid Locations to Package Delivery Network," 27 June 2019 The brick-and-mortar stalwart and online retail behemoth have been battling to offer consumers speedier delivery options with tit-for-tat investments in high-tech delivery capabilities -- including drones. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Walmart filed more drone patents than Amazon last year," 18 June 2019 Even given changes to the industry over the past 10 to 15 years, AAA managed to harness its rapport among customers looking for travel advice that was more personal than that offered by online booking behemoths, Hennessey said. Rachel Siegel,, "'The Internet doesn't call you back:' AAA's case for more human travel agents," 6 July 2018 Other front runners include GrubHub, UberEats and, of course, online behemoth Amazon. Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, "Startups in the spotlight: Eat Club, Phantom and DoorDash," 12 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for behemoth

Last Updated

20 Aug 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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