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, column 1:
      ⸿ Beholde now Behemoth which I made with thee, hee eateth graſſe as an oxe.
      Loe now, his ſtrength is in his loynes, and his force is in the nauell of his belly.
      Hee moueth his taile like a Cedar: the ſinewes of his ſtones are wrapt together.
      His bones are as ſtrong pieces of braſſe: his bones are like barres 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. (figuratively) 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.
    • 2021 January 4, Parul Koul; Chewy Shaw, “We Built Google. This Is Not the Company We Want to Work For.”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      We are the workers who built Alphabet. We write code, clean offices, serve food, drive buses, test self-driving cars and do everything needed to keep this behemoth running.

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