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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The original behemoth is biblical; it designates 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 are vague. The word first passed from 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 Giganotosaurus, whose genetic material was used to created the hybrid behemoth Indominus rex in the 2015 film, is now the big — make that biggest — dog. Michael O'sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, 6 May 2022 Giganotosaurus, whose genetic material was used to created the hybrid behemoth Indominus rex in the 2015 film, is now the big — make that biggest — dog. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Shares of Google parent Alphabet fell $87.11, or 3.7%, to $2,285.89 after the technology behemoth posted slower sales growth amid disruptions in digital advertising spending. Caitlin Mccabe, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2022 Murdoch made his wealth from News Corporation, the publishing and media behemoth that owns properties like The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and publisher HarperCollins. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 26 Apr. 2022 Most notably, the telecommunications behemoth's logo will be prominently featured on the right sleeve of the club's uniforms, beginning with the 2023 season. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 The entertainment behemoth spent decades avoiding even the whiff of controversy. New York Times, 17 Apr. 2022 The new media behemoth arrives on the scene as sports rights have become ever more critical to the health of the traditional pay TV business. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 11 Apr. 2022 Peter Csathy, chairman of advisory firm CreaTV Media, similarly touts the potential for the new content behemoth. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Behemoth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on behemoth

Nglish: Translation of behemoth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behemoth for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about behemoth


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