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

Breaking up the behemoth agency will not solve all its problems, said Zerwas, a member of the House health and human services committee. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Departing Minnesota DHS commissioner says state should break up the agency," 30 Aug. 2019 Most of the smoke is coming from the Swan Lake fire, a behemoth 148,000-acre blaze burning on the Kenai Peninsula. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Wildfire smoke drifts back into Anchorage area," 26 Aug. 2019 As new entrants into the fray, ViacomCBS will go up against behemoths Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, in addition to upcoming competitors Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal. NBC News, "CBS and Viacom have different streaming strategies. Can they combine to win the streaming wars?," 23 Aug. 2019 Los Gatos also is the home base for video streaming behemoth Netflix. George Avalos, The Mercury News, "Toll House Hotel in Los Gatos is bought by East Coast investors," 22 Aug. 2019 Epic seems to realize all this and has been relatively upfront about its strategy of using free games and exclusivity deals to build an EGS player base that can take on Steam's behemoth. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Why one PC developer turned down the security of Epic’s exclusivity offer," 19 Aug. 2019 Other factors are also at play in the retirement of coal’s behemoths. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "And Now the Really Big Coal Plants Begin to Close," 16 Aug. 2019 These are all from Comedy Dynamics, the behemoth producer and distributor behind the recent boom in specials. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, "Can Netflix, the King of Stand-Up Specials, Be Dethroned?," 9 Aug. 2019 The way Amazon’s business is structured might also be more amenable to union actions like work stoppages than its retail behemoth predecessor, Walmart, is. Rani Molla, Vox, "Why Amazon pays warehouse employees to tweet about their jobs," 8 Aug. 2019

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

3 Sep 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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Comments on behemoth

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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