The Alternative English Dictionary: animal

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Entry definition

animal {{wikipedia}} {{wikipedia}} pronunciation
  • {{enPR}}, /ˈænəməl/
  • {{audio}}
etymology 1 From Middle English animal, from Old French animal, from Latin animal, a nominal use of an adjective from animale, neuter of animalis, from anima. Displaced native Middle English deor (from Old English dēor), Middle English reother (from Old English hriþer).
noun: {{en-noun}}
  1. In scientific usage, a multicellular organism that is usually mobile, whose cell are not encased in a rigid cell wall (distinguishing it from plant and fungi) and which derives energy solely from the consumption of other organism (distinguishing it from plant). exampleA cat is an animal, not a plant.   Humans are also animals, under the scientific definition, as we are not plants.
  2. In non-scientific usage, any member of the kingdom Animalia other than a human being.
  3. In non-scientific usage, any land-living vertebrate (i.e. not bird, fish, insect etc.).
    • {{quote-magazine}}
  4. (figuratively) A person who behaves wildly; a bestial, brutal, brutish, cruel, or inhuman person. exampleMy students are animals.
  5. (informal) A person of a particular type. examplea political animal
Synonyms: (organism) beast, creature, (non-human organism) beast, (person who behaves wildly) brute, monster, savage
  • See also
related terms:
  • anima
  • animus
  • animate
  • Animalia
etymology 2 From Latin animalis, from either anima or animus. Originally distinct from the noun, it became associated with attributive use of the noun and is now indistinguishable from it.
adjective: {{en-adj}}
  1. Of or relating to animals. animal instincts
  2. Raw, base, unhindered by social codes. animal passions
  3. Pertaining to the spirit or soul; relating to sensation or innervation.
    • 2003, To explain what activated the flesh, ‘animal spirits’ were posited, superfine fluids which shuttled between the mind and the vitals, conveying messages and motion. — Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason (Penguin 2004, p. 47)
  4. (slang, Ireland) Excellent.
Synonyms: (of animals) beastly, bestial, (unhindered by social codes) animalistic, beastly, bestial, untamed, wild
  • Almain
  • aminal
  • lamina
  • maalin
  • Malian
  • manila, Manila

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