bes·​ti·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌbes-chē-ˈa-lə-tē How to pronounce bestiality (audio) , ˌbesh-, ˌbēs-, ˌbēsh- How to pronounce bestiality (audio) \
plural bestialities

Definition of bestiality

1 : sexual relations between a human being and a lower animal
2 : the condition or status of a lower (see lower entry 3 sense 3) animal … the difference between bestiality and humanity …— John Dewey
3 : display or gratification of bestial traits or impulses the bestiality and degradation that war brings— Drew Middleton

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Examples of bestiality in a Sentence

I was shocked by the bestiality of their behavior. by the end of hostilities the populace had been reduced to a level of bestiality that would have been unthinkable before the war

Recent Examples on the Web

The invasion, as historians recall, worked because, at that moment, there was a genuine impulse, however scarred by national rivalries, to intervene on behalf of humanity against bestiality. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Europe and America Seventy-Five Years After D Day," 6 June 2019 Julia Breaux, director of the Louisiana Humane Society, was present in the committee meeting to speak on behalf of the bestiality bill. Chelsea Brasted,, "New Orleans-based Navy chaplain fired after he was seen having sex on video in Algiers bar: report," 4 Apr. 2018 The trial of a Michigan State University physicist charged with bestiality took an unusual turn this week when a stuffed animal was brought into a courtroom as a prop. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Attorney uses stuffed animal in case against MSU physicist charged with bestiality," 22 June 2018 Despite the disingenuous hand-wringing of a few Washington, D.C., publications and being accused of bestiality by the insane fake news posse, Wolf comes out of this a winner. Jason Johnson, The Root, "It’s Been a Week; Can We Finally Admit That Everybody Won at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner?," 4 May 2018 Additionally, Pennsylvania court records online do not show any bestiality offenses against Wolf. Nick Vadala,, "No, Michelle Wolf was not arrested for bestiality in Hershey, Pa.," 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bestiality.' 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 bestiality

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for bestiality

see bestial

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Statistics for bestiality

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for bestiality

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

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More Definitions for bestiality



English Language Learners Definition of bestiality

: sex between a person and an animal
formal : a cruel and violent quality : a bestial quality


bes·​ti·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌbes-chē-ˈal-ət-ē How to pronounce bestiality (audio) , ˌbēs- How to pronounce bestiality (audio) \
plural bestialities

Medical Definition of bestiality

: sexual relations between a human being and a lower animal


bes·​ti·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌbes-chē-ˈa-lə-tē, ˌbēs- How to pronounce bestiality (audio) \

Legal Definition of bestiality

: the crime of engaging in sexual relations with an animal — see also crime against nature

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More from Merriam-Webster on bestiality

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bestiality

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bestiality Encyclopedia article about bestiality

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