bestiary

noun
bes·​ti·​ary | \ ˈbes-chē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce bestiary (audio) , -ˌe-rē, ˈbesh-, ˈbēs-, ˈbēsh- \
plural bestiaries

Definition of bestiary

1 : a medieval allegorical or moralizing work on the appearance and habits of real or imaginary animals
2a : a collection of descriptions or representations of real or imaginary animals
b : an array of real humans or literary characters often having symbolic significance
3 : an unusual or whimsical collection a truly astounding bestiary of airplane designs— Peter Garrison

Examples of bestiary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And beyond these, the show’s bestiary of Main Street America, its hapless parents and inept leaders, its weird small businesses and petty local politics, its moral pretensions and amoral vanities do ring true, however exaggerated. Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic, "Watching South Park at the End of the World," 3 Apr. 2020 Here, reducing the medieval bestiary to a contemporary footnote makes for a listless conclusion to an otherwise strong and compelling show. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Unicorns are just one of the wild rides in the Getty’s marvelous ‘Book of Beasts’," 23 July 2019 In the galleries The Getty Museum is currently the site of a beastly exhibition about bestiary, the medieval manuscripts that depicted fantastic creatures (unicorns and beavers, oh my!). Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Essential Arts: Questions of power and race after last-minute firing of a play’s director," 27 July 2019 Medieval bestiaries were books that served as compendiums of creatures both fantastic and real. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: At the Getty, one of Gordon Parks’ most controversial photographic series," 11 July 2019 Medieval bestiaries were books that served as compendiums of creatures both fantastic and real. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: A group show marks five years of exhibitions at Park View / Paul Soto," 1 Aug. 2019 Medieval bestiaries were books that served as compendiums of creatures both fantastic and real. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: At the Getty, one of Gordon Parks’ most controversial photographic series," 11 July 2019 Unruliness, perversity, pigheadedness—psychologists have long been interested in this bestiary of paradoxical thought and action. Paul Bloom, The New Yorker, "The Strange Appeal of Perverse Actions," 19 July 2019 Medieval bestiaries were books that served as compendiums of creatures both fantastic and real. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: Jasmine Little etches the history of art into contemporary ceramics," 18 July 2019

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

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bestiary

Medieval Latin bestiarium, from Latin, neuter of bestiarius of beasts, from bestia

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The first known use of bestiary was in 1817

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Cite this Entry

“Bestiary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bestiary. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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