behemoth

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English[edit]

Behemoth and Leviathan, by William Blake

Etymology[edit]

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

  • an intensive plural of בהמה (bəhēmāh, beast), from Proto-Semitic (compare Ethiopic ብህመ (bəhmä, to be dumb, to be speechless), Arabic ب ه م (b-h-m)), or
  • a borrowing of Egyptian
    pAiHE1mw
    (*pꜣ-jḥ-mw, hippopotamus, literally the ox of the water), from pꜣ (definite article) + jḥ (ox, cattle) + mw (water) in a direct genitive construction; for the pronunciation, cf. the later Coptic descendants ⲡ- (p-) + ⲉϩⲉ (ehe) + ⲙⲟⲟⲩ (moou).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

behemoth (plural behemoths)

  1. (biblical) A great and mighty beast God shows Job in Job 40:15-24.
  2. A great and mighty monster.
  3. (by extension) 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.

Quotations[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.

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