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From Middle English beestely, bestely, beastliche, equivalne to beast +‎ -ly. Compare Dutch beestachtig ‎(beastly), German biestig ‎(beastly).


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

  1. (Britain) Pertaining to, or having the form, nature, or habits of, a beast.
  2. (Britain) Characterizing the nature of a beast; contrary to the nature and dignity of man; brutal; filthy.
  3. (Britain, dated) Abominable.
    beastly weather

Usage notes[edit]

Most often used pejoratively. Bestial is more narrow, though also often used pejoratively.




beastly ‎(comparative more beastly, superlative most beastly)

  1. Like a beast; brutishly.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.8:
      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.