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

In June of that year, the story goes, Bill Gates’ behemoth allegedly proposed a deal, one that essentially would split up the web-browsing market between Netscape and Microsoft. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Later, Navigator: How Netscape Won and Then Lost the World Wide Web," 4 Apr. 2019 Lagerfeld considered Viard one of the four people who ran Chanel’s fashion behemoth, including himself, Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel fashion, and Eric Pfrunder, image director. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld's Secret Weapon, Succeeds Him at Chanel," 19 Feb. 2019 Indian policy makers have been looking for ways to rein in the power of American tech behemoths. Corinne Abrams, WSJ, "Amazon, Walmart Foiled as India Tightens E-Commerce Rules," 27 Dec. 2018 The hype was big, much like the plane itself: The 747 was a behemoth, capable of ferrying over 400 people in its cabin. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "50 Years On, Boeing's 747 Is Fighting for Survival," 11 Feb. 2019 Another manufacturer, the office-furniture behemoth Steelcase, increased prices in June for the second time in four months, due to multiple factors, including tariffs and inflation. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How Trump’s tariffs are affecting the furniture industry," 7 Aug. 2018 Match Group, which has become a behemoth in online dating by swallowing promising independent brands, is doing it again. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Tinder's Parent Company Is Buying an Anti-Tinder Dating App," 21 June 2018 The sheer number of developers and executives in the packed sessions showed that Facebook remains a behemoth in the tech industry. NBC News, "Facebook's yearly conference balances scandal and tech with apologies and VR," 3 May 2018 The vast majority of Bostonians may never set foot in one of the new glass-and-steel behemoths in the Seaport District, or the towers changing the skyline. Nestor Ramos,, "At a McDonald’s of the future, Walsh sees Boston’s present," 20 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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Last Updated

16 Apr 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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