behemoth

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English[edit]

Behemoth and Leviathan, by William Blake
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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English behemoth, bemoth, from Late Latin, from Hebrew בהמות (bəhēmōth). The Hebrew word is either:

  • an intensive plural of בהמה (bəhēmāh, beast), from Proto-Semitic (compare Ethiopic [script?] (bəhma, dumb, speechless), Arabic [script?] (ʼabham, animal) (declined as bahma(t), bahīma(t))), or
  • a borrowing of Egyptian [script?] (p-ehe-mau, hippopotamus, literally water-ox).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

behemoth (plural behemoths)

  1. (biblical) A great and mighty beast God shows Job in Job 40:15-24.
  2. A great and mighty monster.
  3. Something which has the qualities of great power and might, and monstrous proportions.
    • 2011 January 18, Lovejoy, Joe, “Cardiff City 0 Stoke City 2”, Guardian Online:
      The diehards who did turn out were at least rewarded with a first sight of Jon Parkin, the behemoth striker signed from Preston, who scored a stunning goal on his debut at Norwich last weekend.

Synonyms[edit]

Quotations[edit]

  • 1611, King James Version of the Bible (Authorized Version), Job 40:15–18
    Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
    Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
    He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
    His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
  • 2001Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl, p 58
    Next she doused the smouldering troll with the contents of the restaurant's fire extinguisher, hoping the icy powder wouldn't revive the sleeping behemoth.

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