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- an intensive plural of בְּהֵמָה (behemá, “beast”), from Proto-Semitic (compare Ge'ez ብህመ (bəhmä, “to be dumb, to be speechless”), Arabic ب ه م (b-h-m)), or
- less likely, a borrowing of Egyptian
(*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).
behemoth (plural behemoths)
- (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.
- (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.
- (figurative) Something which has the qualities of great power and might, and monstrous proportions.
- 2011 January 18, Lovejoy, Joe, “Cardiff City 0 Stoke City 2”, in Guardian Online:
- 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.
mighty beast in the Book of Job
something of great size and power