animal

noun
an·​i·​mal | \ ˈa-nə-məl How to pronounce animal (audio) \

Essential Meaning of animal

1 : a living thing that is not a human being or plant people and animals the animals in the zoo See More Examplesthe plants and animals of the forest She loves all kinds of animals. pigs, chickens, and other farm animals [=animals that live on a farm]Hide
2 : any living thing that is not a plant Fish, birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, and human beings are all animals. Dogs, like humans, are social animals. [=animals that live in groups] studying the habits of the human animal [=the habits of human beings; the habits of people in general]
3 : a person who behaves in a wild, aggressive, or unpleasant way He's a real animal. You're all behaving like a bunch of animals.

Full Definition of animal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a kingdom (Animalia) of living things including many-celled organisms and often many of the single-celled ones (such as protozoans) that typically differ from plants in having cells without cellulose walls, in lacking chlorophyll and the capacity for photosynthesis, in requiring more complex food materials (such as proteins), in being organized to a greater degree of complexity, and in having the capacity for spontaneous movement and rapid motor responses to stimulation
2a : one of the lower animals (see lower entry 3 sense 3) as distinguished from human beings
b : mammal broadly : vertebrate
3 : a human being considered chiefly as physical or nonrational also : this nature
4 : a person with a particular interest or aptitude a political animal He's a party animal.
5 : matter, thing the theater … is an entirely different animal— Arthur Miller also : creature sense 1c

animal

adjective

Definition of animal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, resembling, or derived from animals animal instincts animal behavior
2a : of or relating to the physical or sentient as contrasted with the intellectual or rational
b : sensual, fleshly indulged his animal appetites
3 : of or relating to the animal pole of an egg or to the part from which ectoderm normally develops

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Other Words from animal

Noun

animallike \ ˈa-​nə-​mə(l)-​ˌlīk How to pronounce animal (audio) \ adjective

Adjective

animally \ ˈa-​nə-​mə-​lē How to pronounce animal (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for animal

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for animal

Adjective

carnal, fleshly, sensual, animal mean having a relation to the body. carnal may mean only this but more often connotes derogatorily an action or manifestation of a person's lower nature. gave in to carnal desires fleshly is less derogatory than carnal. a saint who had experienced fleshly temptations sensual may apply to any gratification of a bodily desire or pleasure but commonly implies sexual appetite with absence of the spiritual or intellectual. fleshpots providing sensual delights animal stresses the physical as distinguished from the rational nature of a person. led a mindless animal existence

Did you know?

Latin anima means “breath” or “soul,” and animalis, the adjective that comes from it, means “having breath or soul.” An animal such as a cat or dog can be seen to breathe. Plants breathe too, by taking in certain gases from the atmosphere and releasing others. However, this process cannot be observed by the naked eye. So the noun animal, which comes from animalis, was borrowed from Latin for that group of living beings that breathe visibly.

Examples of animal in a Sentence

Noun the animals in the zoo the plants and animals of the forest She loves all kinds of animals. Fish, birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, and human beings are all animals. You're all behaving like a bunch of animals. Adjective several different plant and animal species milk, meat, and other animal products People were shocked by the animal brutality of the attack.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The species are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — an international treaty that protects animal and plant species from exploitation and trade. al, 7 Sep. 2021 Correspondent Nancy Giles checks out some human and animal look-alikes. CBS News, 1 Sep. 2021 Tests in mice showed a single dose of the vaccine could neutralize multiple human and animal coronaviruses, including ones not included in the vaccine design. Lara Marks, Quartz, 1 Sep. 2021 This adds a ton of useful features like zone control, trigger identification (human, animal or packages), and cloud recording. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, 31 Aug. 2021 Support your muscle mass with protein from both plant and animal sources. NBC News, 30 Aug. 2021 Peaches also predicted that as the lands deteriorated, human and animal behavior would become unpredictable. AZCentral.com, 20 Aug. 2021 Developers worked with the city to return human and animal remains to nearby tribes in order to be able to build on the site the city has struggled to develop. Megan Taros, The Arizona Republic, 20 Aug. 2021 From their efforts emerged visions of distant future glaciations, climate changes, earthquakes, floods, human and animal population changes, and more. Vincent Ialenti, Scientific American, 13 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The couple set about bringing plants and animal life to the third-of-an-acre lot in Kirkside, their Fairfax County neighborhood. Washington Post, 7 July 2021 The new study took place as part of the Palaeodeserts Project, which seeks to track human and animal migration across the Arabian Peninsula. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Aug. 2021 For this site, experts on skeletal analysis described and measured the human and animal bones recovered, before ISIS destroyed them. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 June 2021 Both bamboo and raffia palm trees are fast-growing crops that are eco-friendly and non-animal sourced. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, 3 June 2021 For starters, why serve honey and milk for tea and coffee when there are perfectly decent non-animal substitutes? John Mariani, Forbes, 4 May 2021 The Northwestern researchers who carried out the new study in Nature Neuroscience were familiar with these human and animal experiments on interbrain synchrony. New York Times, 25 May 2021 The team, who since 2015 have been working to thoroughly examine human and animal mummies from Ancient Egypt at the National Museum in Warsaw, uncovered the body's true identity after spotting a tiny foot in the abdomen on a scan. Lianne Kolirin, CNN, 30 Apr. 2021 Preserving perishable human and animal samples at remote field sites has been a critical obstacle, and the vessel would bring the lab to the biological materials, rather than the other way around. Daniel Grossman, Science | AAAS, 29 Apr. 2021

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for animal

Noun and Adjective

Latin, from animale, neuter of animalis animate, from anima soul — more at animate

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Time Traveler for animal

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near animal

animae mundi

animal

animal bipes implume

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Statistics for animal

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Animal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/animal. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for animal

animal

noun
an·​i·​mal | \ ˈa-nə-məl How to pronounce animal (audio) \

Kids Definition of animal

1 : any member of the kingdom of living things (as earthworms, crabs, birds, and people) that differ from plants typically in being able to move about, in not having cell walls made of cellulose, and in depending on plants and other animals as sources of food
2 : any of the animals lower than humans in the natural order the animals in the zoo
3 : mammal the birds and animals of the forest

animal

noun
an·​i·​mal | \ ˈan-ə-məl How to pronounce animal (audio) \

Medical Definition of animal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a kingdom (Animalia) of living things including many-celled organisms and often many of the single-celled ones (as protozoans) that typically differ from plants in having cells without cellulose walls, in lacking chlorophyll and the capacity for photosynthesis, in requiring more complex food materials (as proteins), in being organized to a greater degree of complexity, and in having the capacity for spontaneous movement and rapid motor response to stimulation
2a : one of the lower animals as distinguished from human beings
b : mammal broadly : vertebrate

animal

adjective

Medical Definition of animal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or derived from animals
2 : of or relating to the animal pole of an egg or to the part from which ectoderm normally develops

More from Merriam-Webster on animal

Nglish: Translation of animal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of animal for Arabic Speakers

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