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

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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Time Traveler for bestiality

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Bestiality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for bestiality


How to pronounce bestiality (audio) How to pronounce bestiality (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on bestiality

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

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