beast

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English beeste, beste, from Old French beste (French: bête), from Latin bēstia (animal, beast); many cognates – see bēstia.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

beast (plural beasts)

  1. Any animal other than a human; usually only applied to land vertebrates, especially large or dangerous four-footed ones.
  2. (more specific)  A domestic animal, especially a bovine farm animal.
    • 1945 August 17, George Orwell, chapter 1, in Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, London: Secker & Warburg, OCLC 3655473:
      Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 7, in The China Governess[1]:
      ‘Children crawled over each other like little grey worms in the gutters,’ he said. ‘The only red things about them were their buttocks and they were raw. Their faces looked as if snails had slimed on them and their mothers were like great sick beasts whose byres had never been cleared. […]’
  3. A person who behaves in a violent, antisocial or uncivilized manner.
  4. (slang) A large or impressive thing or structure.
    That is a beast of a stadium.
    The subwoofer that comes with this set of speakers is a beast.
  5. (slang) Someone who is particularly impressive, especially athletically or physically.
  6. (slang, prisons) A sex offender.
    • 1994, Elaine Player, Michael Jenkins, Prisons After Woolf: Reform Through Riot (page 190)
      Shouts had been heard: 'We're coming to kill you, beasts.' In desperation, Rule 43s had tried to barricade their doors []
    • 1994, Adam Sampson, Acts of Abuse: Sex Offenders And the Criminal Justice System, page 83:
      For many prisoners and in many prisons, antipathy towards 'nonces' or 'beasts' is little more than an idea []
  7. (figuratively) Something unpleasant and difficult.
    • 2000, Tom Clancy, The Bear and the Dragon, Berkley (2001), ISBN 9780425180969, page 905:
      [] Even unopposed, the natural obstacles are formidable, and defending his line of advance will be a beast of a problem."
    • 2006, Heather Burt, Adam's Peak, Dundurn Press (2006), ISBN 9781550026467, page 114:
      He'd be in the hospital a few days — broken collarbone, a cast on his arm, a beast of a headache — but fine.
  8. A thing or matter, especially a difficult or unruly one.
    • 2003, John Derbyshire, Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problems in Mathematics:
      Now, the nucleus of a heavy element is a very peculiar beast.
    • 2010, Rob Chapman, A Very Irregular Head: The Life of Syd Barrett, page 65:
      'Lucy Leave', also known as 'Lucy Lea in Blue Tights', is a stranger beast altogether. Musically it is as derivative as everything else the band was playing at this time
    • 2012, Kylee Swenson Gordon, Electronic Musician Presents the Recording Secrets Behind 50 Great Albums:
      But Wasting Light, recorded analog to tape (API 1608 32track, two Studer 827s) with no computers, not even to mix or master, is an entirely different beast.
    • 2017, Riley Sager, Final Girls, page 141:
      Murder is a stranger beast than suicide, although the end result of both is the same.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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See also[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

beast (third-person singular simple present beasts, present participle beasting, simple past and past participle beasted)

  1. (Britain, military) to impose arduous exercises, either as training or as punishment.

Adjective[edit]

beast (comparative more beast, superlative most beast)

  1. (slang) great; excellent; powerful
    • 1999, "Jason Chue", AMD K6-2 350mhz, FIC VA503+, LGS 64mb PC100 sdram (on newsgroup jaring.pcbase)
      There is another type from Siemens which is the HYB 39S64XXX(AT/ATL) -8B version (notice the "B" and the end) which is totally beast altogether.
    • 2012, Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits, page 37:
      Translation: a piece of crap, but the rest of the car was totally beast.

Anagrams[edit]