behemoth

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English[edit]

Behemoth (center) and Leviathan (bottom), by William Blake

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /bəˈhi(ː)məθ/, /ˈbiːəˌməθ/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

behemoth (plural behemoths)

  1. (biblical) A great and mighty beast God shows Job in Job 40:15–24.
    Coordinate term: leviathan
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, 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.
  2. (by extension) Any great and mighty monster.
    • 2001, Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl, page 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.
  3. (figurative) Something which has the qualities of great power and might, and monstrous proportions.
    Synonyms: colossus, leviathan, mammoth, titan
    • 2011 January 18, Lovejoy, Joe, “Cardiff City 0 Stoke City 2”, in Guardian Online[1]:
      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.
    • 2012, James S. A. Corey, Gods of Risk, →ISBN:
      The wide access corridors passed slowly, the conduits and pipes like the circulatory system of some vast planetary behemoth.

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