bes·​tial | \ ˈbes-chəl How to pronounce bestial (audio) , ˈbesh-, ˈbēs-, ˈbēsh- How to pronounce bestial (audio) \

Definition of bestial

1a : of or relating to beasts grotesque combinations of human and bestial forms
b : resembling a beast a bestial shape
2a : lacking intelligence or reason … the bestial man has no sense of right and wrong …— J. E. Hankins
b : marked by base (see base entry 3 sense 1a) or inhuman instincts or desires : brutal bestial violence … a scene of bestial intoxication …— Herman Melville

Other Words from bestial

bestialize \ ˈbes-​chə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce bestial (audio) , ˈbesh-​ , ˈbēs-​ , ˈbēsh-​ \ transitive verb
bestially \ ˈbes-​chə-​lē How to pronounce bestial (audio) , ˈbesh-​ , ˈbēs-​ , ˈbēsh-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for bestial

brutal, brutish, bestial, feral mean characteristic of an animal in nature, action, or instinct. brutal applies to people, their acts, or their words and suggests a lack of intelligence, feeling, or humanity. a senseless and brutal war brutish stresses likeness to an animal in low intelligence, in base appetites, and in behavior based on instinct. brutish stupidity bestial suggests a state of degradation unworthy of humans and fit only for beasts. bestial depravity feral suggests the savagery or ferocity of wild animals. the struggle to survive unleashed their feral impulses

Examples of bestial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Frank himself could easily be a habitué of an old Max Fleischer cartoon—a cousin to Bimbo the Dog, perhaps—with his rubbery black limbs, white gloves and shoes, and cute, bestial, species-nonspecific features. Sam Thielman, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2022 Some singers get up in front of audiences and attack sets with bestial ferocity before partying all night long, but that approach has an expiration date. Nathan Grayson, Washington Post, 9 Aug. 2022 Our reduced olfactory apparatus was the detritus of a bestial and benighted past, and an allegory of our enlightenment. Scott Sayare, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 On the Foo Fighters’ second album, The Colour and the Shape, Grohl ended up rerecording songs with his own bestial drumming in place of Goldsmith’s, and suddenly tracks that hadn’t been working sounded like instant modern-rock classics. Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 14 Sep. 2021 The streaks provide proof of our mundane bestial reality—our hormones, our lunch, our particular whorls and spirals. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2021 Such epiphanies, though bookended in Wright's novel between the bestial horrors of its first section and the abject bleakness of its third, are what give the novel its lasting glow. Gene Seymour, CNN, 26 May 2021 Lincoln’s opponents tarred him with racist and bestial characterizations. Calvin Schermerhorn, The Conversation, 6 Aug. 2020 Abolitionists claimed that the eloquence of slaves and Africans proved their equal humanity, but most Europeans had long taken for granted that black utterances were inherently inferior, even bestial. Fara Dabhoiwala, The New York Review of Books, 3 Aug. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bestial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bestial

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bestial

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin bestialis, from bestia beast

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Time Traveler for bestial

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

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Dictionary Entries Near bestial

best gold



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Last Updated

29 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bestial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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