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From Middle English beestly, bestely, beastelich, equivalent to beast +‎ -ly. Compare West Frisian bistachtich (beastly), Dutch beestachtig (beastly), German biestig (beastly).


  • IPA(key): /ˈbiːstli/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːstli


beastly (comparative beastlier or more beastly, superlative beastliest or most beastly)

  1. (UK) Pertaining to, or having the form, nature, or habits of, a beast.
  2. (UK) Similar to the nature of a beast; contrary to the nature and dignity of human beings.
    Synonyms: brutal, filthy
    beastly culture
  3. (UK, dated) Abominable; very unpleasant.
    beastly weather
    Stop being so beastly to her!
  4. (of computing hardware) Powerful, having a powerful appearance

Usage notes[edit]

Most often used pejoratively, but sense 4 has predominantly positive connotations. Bestial is more narrow, though also often used pejoratively.


Derived terms[edit]



beastly (comparative more beastly, superlative most beastly)

  1. Like a beast; brutishly.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book III, canto viii:
      Beastly he threwe her downe, ne car'd to spill / Her garments gay with scales of fish that all did fill.
    • 1901, The Literary World - Volume 63 - Page 35:
      They have insulted me most beastly. Moreover, they are, everyone of them, black-satan filthmen.
    • 1955, Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita:
      The baths were mostly tiled showers, with an endless variety of spouting mechanisms, but with one definitely non-Laodicean characteristic in common, a propensity, while in use, to turn instantly beastly hot or blindingly cold upon you, depending on whether your neighbor turned on his cold or his hot to deprive you of a necessary complement in the shower you had so carefully blended.