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Alternative forms[edit]


From Old English bist, see be +‎ -est. Compare German bist.



  1. (chiefly subjunctive) (archaic) second-person singular simple present form of be
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals):
      Stephano: if thou beest Stephano, touch me, and speake to me: for I am Trinculo; be not afeard, thy good friend Trinculo.
    • a. 1631, John Donne, ‘Witchcraft by a picture’, Poems (1633):
      If thou, to be so seene, beest loath, / By Sunne, or Moone, thou darknest both […].

See also[edit]




From Middle Dutch beeste, from beste, from Old French beste, like English beast (which see for more).


  • IPA(key): /beːst/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: beest
  • Rhymes: -eːst


beest n (plural beesten, diminutive beestje n)

  1. An animal, a beast.
    Er zit een beestje in m'n soep.
    There is a bug in my soup.
  2. An animal kept as livestock, a head.
  3. (figuratively) A cruel, wild, uncivilised, uninhibited or brutal person.
    De folteraars van de grenspolitie waren sadistische beesten.
    The torturers of the border police were sadistic beasts.
    Ze is een beest.
    She's a beast in bed.

Usage notes[edit]

  • beest has a somewhat negative connotation, whereas dier is neutral.
  • In compounds, beest can have the meaning “someone who enjoys an activity”; compare English animal in party animal and also beast.

Derived terms[edit]