noun, often attributive
be·he·moth | \ bi-ˈhē-məth , ˈbē-ə-məth , -ˌmäth , -ˌmȯth \

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

As tech behemoths like Facebook and Google try to allay concerns over privacy, Shiru’s information-gathering on students has not drawn much scrutiny. Graham Ambrose,, "Free coffee — with a catch — is coming to Massachusetts," 14 July 2018 The chief's complaints centered around data ownership -- mirroring an ongoing debate that has been happening for years between the wider music industry and big-tech behemoths like Apple and Google. Cherie Hu, Billboard, "A2IM CEO Richard Burgess on Spotify's Direct Licensing Plan: 'We Should Have Equal Access to Their Data'," 21 June 2018 The public grilling, coming in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, could be a turning point for the social media behemoth and its young founder, which has largely avoided government regulation in its 15-year existence. Justin Carissimo, CBS News, "Watch Mark Zuckerberg's Senate committee testimony - live updates," 10 Apr. 2018 Supporters of the bill argued that stricter copyright laws would give content creators more leverage against internet behemoths such as Google. Adam Satariano, New York Times, "Tech Giants Win a Battle Over Copyright Rules in Europe," 5 July 2018 Indeed, the course of today’s internet is largely determined by a handful of American monopolies, along with Chinese behemoths such as Alibaba and Sina Weibo. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Private Telegram, Public Strife," 3 July 2018 Fed officials haven’t yet proposed scrapping the qualitative grade for the largest banks, including global behemoths such as Wells Fargo WFC 0.66% & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG, whose U.S. unit is subject to the stress tests. Ryan Tracy, WSJ, "Banks Failing Stress Tests? Not for Much Longer," 26 June 2018 The botched attempt at breaking into connected health points to tough competition in an industry where behemoths such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google are investing heavily. Carol Matlack,, "Nokia, Bowing to Smartwatch Dominance, Sells Digital-Health Unit," 2 May 2018 The country, South America's third poorest with an average per capita income of around $4,000, has little experience of dealing with multinational behemoths such as Exxon. Kevin Crowley, Houston Chronicle, "Exxon sparks IMF concern with returns in Guyana," 9 Apr. 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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Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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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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What made you want to look up behemoth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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