creature

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See also: créature and creäture

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Existing since Middle English in the original sense of “a created thing”, borrowed via Old French, from Late Latin creatura, from creare.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

creature (plural creatures)

  1. (now rare) A created thing, whether animate or inanimate; a creation.
    • 1633, John Donne, "Sapho to Philænis":
      Thoughts, my mindes creatures, often are with thee, / But I, their maker, want their libertie.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, I.10:
      the natural truth of God is an artificial erection of Man, and the Creator himself but a subtile invention of the Creature.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      She was like a Beardsley Salome, he had said. And indeed she had the narrow eyes and the high cheekbone of that creature, and as nearly the sinuosity as is compatible with human symmetry.
  2. A living being; an animal or human.
    He's a creature of habit.   insects and other creatures
    • 2013 June 8, “Obama goes troll-hunting”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 55: 
      According to this saga of intellectual-property misanthropy, these creatures [patent trolls] roam the business world, buying up patents and then using them to demand extravagant payouts from companies they accuse of infringing them. Often, their victims pay up rather than face the costs of a legal battle.
  3. A being subservient to or dependent upon another.
    • 1988, James McPherson, Battle Cry for Freedom, Oxford 2003, p. 240:
      they, too, despite the appearance of being creatures rather than creators of the Union, could assert the prior sovereignty of their states, for each had formed a state constitution […] before petitioning Congress for admission to the Union.

Usage notes[edit]

  • For an explanation of the specialised use of the alternative spelling creäture, see its entry’s usage notes.
  • Adjectives often applied to "creature": evil, living, little, mythical, poor, strange, beautiful, wild, rational, marine, social, legendary, good, mysterious, curious, magical, dangerous, mythological, bizarre, monstrous, unhappy, huge, lowly, ugly, happy, unique, odd, weird, demonic, divine, imaginary, hideous, fabulous, nocturnal, angelic, political.

Hyponyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Concise Oxford English Dictionary [Eleventh Edition]

Italian[edit]

Noun[edit]

creature f

  1. plural form of creatura

Latin[edit]

Participle[edit]

creātūre

  1. vocative masculine singular of creātūrus

Old French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Late Latin creatura.

Noun[edit]

creature f (oblique plural creatures, nominative singular creature, nominative plural creatures)

  1. creature; being; entity

Descendants[edit]