Definition of animal in English:

animal

noun

  • 1A living organism which feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli.

    ‘wild animals adapt badly to a caged life’
    ‘humans are the only animals who weep’
    • ‘When the carrier insect feeds on a warm-blooded animal, the eggs hatch and the larva penetrates the skin.’
    • ‘Rabies affects the central nervous system of animals and causes behavioral changes.’
    • ‘These animals are herbivores, specializing on the flowers of creosote bushes.’
    • ‘This is somewhat like trying to regularly feed wild animals; one can never be sure when or how much interaction will result.’
    • ‘The examples discussed, which are myriad, cover a wide set of invertebrate and vertebrate animals.’
    • ‘Evolution had the same idea when it came up with a nervous system that allowed animals to learn.’
    • ‘It was probably a bipedal animal, probably predatory, and probably the size of a large dog.’
    • ‘They're also conduits of life, breeding grounds for small marine animals and feed areas for larger ones.’
    • ‘This would seem to be the optimal size of giant predatory marine animals.’
    • ‘There are all sorts of ways in which an animal can organise a response when faced with a particular situation.’
    • ‘The female mosquitoes become the bloodsuckers, and they use their long proboscis to bite other animals and feed on their blood.’
    • ‘Anhydrobiosis is a state of suspended animation certain invertebrate animals enter in response to severe drought.’
    • ‘The artist also tried his luck with another subject, natural life prints, showing animals like birds, fish and cats.’
    • ‘For example, some species may be attracted to human blood while others may feed only on the blood of wild or domestic animals.’
    • ‘Pets will also be able to chase away wild animals such as rabbits, gophers, and mice.’
    • ‘Most animals, birds and fish especially, don't have much worth saying.’
    • ‘Although it is well known that many small animals can feed on large ones, such predator-prey interaction is rare.’
    • ‘Predators use scent to locate their prey, and prey animals often alter their behavior in response to predation risk.’
    • ‘A critical specialization in the locomotor spectrum for aquatic animals is buoyancy.’
    • ‘The phenomenon of helping in cooperative breeding animals has stimulated a great deal of research.’
    beast, brute
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Any such living organism other than a human being.
      ‘are humans superior to animals, or just different?’
      • ‘Generally, more hypsodont animals tend to feed on grasses and live in open habitats.’
      • ‘Rangers believe the attacks were not carried out by wild animals but by dogs specially trained to bring a deer down and savage its throat.’
      • ‘In fact, we are told that God originally created animals and human beings to be herbivorous.’
      • ‘The veterinarian responds to wild animals in trouble, often because of contact with humans.’
      • ‘Let's remind ourselves how BSE came about: because farmers fed animals to animals.’
      • ‘No one believes that animals are in an equal position with human beings and animals are regarded as a source of food for humans.’
      • ‘Often laboratories use the same room for both surgery and post-mortems which causes infection to both living animals and humans.’
      • ‘This disease can be passed from animals to human beings.’
      • ‘The animals must also be fed an organic diet and be allowed to roam freely.’
      • ‘His earliest memories are those of thick forests, wild animals and of the riveting images of virgin Nature.’
      • ‘They want to interact - to touch, pat and feed these wild animals almost as if they were pets.’
      • ‘The subjects of all the photographs he chose were animals: birds, dogs, horses and more unusual species.’
      • ‘Mosquitoes transmit a number of diseases to human beings and domestic animals.’
      • ‘Mines around agricultural areas have forced people into the forests to kill wild animals for food.’
      • ‘Gamekeepers are legally able to kill animals such as foxes that feed on grouse, but they cannot disturb or kill protected species such as goshawks.’
      • ‘We rest the herd near camp on a large area of tundra where the animals can feed.’
      • ‘Thousands of wild and domestic animals have been killed in an attempt to control the disease.’
      • ‘I know the trees and the landscape and the habits of the wild animals I feed.’
      • ‘My instinctive response is that animals are not able either to reason or to explain how they feel about being owned.’
      • ‘Many other animals have sense organs that can detect stimuli beyond the confines of the human senses.’
      creature, beast, living thing, being, brute
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    2. 1.2 A mammal, as opposed to a bird, reptile, fish, or insect.
      ‘the snowfall seemed to have chased all birds, animals, and men indoors’
      • ‘In the late afternoon there will be time for a nature walk to spot desert animals, birds and insects.’
      • ‘Unlike dogs and birds and other advanced animals, fish don't feel pain.’
      • ‘Just because the animal, fish, bird or insect doesn't die in front of you, that doesn't mean you are not killing it.’
      • ‘Risley Moss in Warrington is the last remnant of a vast swathe of peat bog, providing an ideal habitat for hundreds of birds, animals, insects and plants.’
      • ‘First, they take human form, but from there they descend to birds, then to animals and finally to reptiles.’
      • ‘In addition to campfire cooking, Dad taught us the names of all the trees, animals, reptiles and birds as well as their habits.’
      • ‘Spread over 460 acres, the estate is known to be home to an amazing variety of birds, insects and animals, apart from flora.’
      • ‘The new wood will link two other copses to create a two-hectare area and an ideal habitat for birds and animals including badgers and foxes that are rare to the Dales.’
      • ‘It's always a great pleasure to have him with us and his bevy of birds and reptiles and animals and things.’
      • ‘The birds and other animals, including deer, have moved back, like their human counterparts, to bring up their families.’
      • ‘But how do the birds, insects and animals that inhabit our countryside perceive their world?’
      • ‘When driving a vehicle and an animal, bird or reptile is seen on the road ahead, it is easy to slow down.’
      • ‘The lack of snow means marine mammals such as seals and polar bears struggle to build dens, while many species of birds, fish and animals have disappeared.’
      • ‘Are the culprits birds, animals or insects, and how do I prevent it?’
      • ‘Their artwork was believed to be very symbolic often being based on nature using images of birds and animals and fish.’
      • ‘She is joined by Tuson and they engage in a routine which calls to mind a variety of animals, fish and birds moving about on the stage.’
      • ‘I pay close attention to the animals, birds and insects who seem to require my attention, and I try to refocus/centre myself every day at least once a day.’
      • ‘This makes redwood lumber companies the guardians of the birds, animals and fish that live on their property.’
      • ‘The listeria germ has been found in many different species of animals, birds, fish and crustaceans.’
      • ‘The effects of water pollution are not only devastating to people but also to animals, fish and birds.’
    3. 1.3 A person without human attributes or civilizing influences, especially someone who is very cruel, violent, or repulsive.
      ‘those men have to be animals—what they did to that boy was savage’
      • ‘If Moniz, Jack's best friend and confidant, was begging and pleading with his best friend to slow down and stop driving like a mindless animal.’
      • ‘Your unthinking hatred of all things public and your disconnect with history and reality, doom you to the status of a mindless animal.’
      • ‘It still doesn't change the fact that vicious, remorseless murderers are disgusting animals that deserve to rot behind bars.’
      • ‘He's just brute strength. You get him into the weight room and he's just an animal. You just walk by and you can sense how powerful he is.’
      • ‘"He's just an animal," Schimeck, a defensive end, said. "He's one of the hardest kids I've ever had to tackle. He puts his shoulder down and he'll just run you over."’
      • ‘An AKC representative registered shock when she saw him - said she'd never seen such a repulsive animal.’
      brute, beast, monster, savage, devil, demon, fiend, villain, sadist, barbarian, ogre
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    4. 1.4with adjective or noun modifier A particular type of person or thing.
      ‘I am a political animal’
      ‘property development was a different animal altogether’
      • ‘The definitive upscale society animal: a baggily handsome, cigar-wielding martini aficionado who only seems to exist in the half-light of wittily conceived, beautifully styled cocktail lounges.’
      • ‘Federal tax rates are an entirely different animal from local taxes.’
      • ‘A stage animal by nature, he has also mastered the role's physical challenges, moving with that self-conscious grace large people often cultivate, while adding many fine comic touches to round out Falstaff's mercurial character.’
      • ‘The first examples of an entirely new species of business animal are beginning to appear, after a gestation period that can be measured in years rather than months.’
      • ‘Recorded in Los Angeles last year, this is an intimate, entertaining, and important statement by the now grizzly rock 'n' roll animal.’
      • ‘The orchestra is, of course, a very different animal to the part-time Scottish Orchestra formed over 100 years ago.’
      • ‘The licensed trade has evolved into a very different animal.’
      • ‘He is a class animal and the question is whether Rangers have a cage big enough to hold him.’
      • ‘Man is by nature a trading animal.’
      • ‘And such is the nature of the media animal they only report on the negative side of ShowBiz and not on the numerous good deeds done by celebrities.’
      • ‘Even in recital, Daniels is a stage animal whose singing crackles with drama.’
      • ‘The second, more familiar apology excuses him for being only a relativist animal of his times.’
      • ‘Maybe I'm not a prose animal; but I do read a fair number of novels and histories.’
      • ‘First of all, it's cable - which is a whole different animal from the networks where any little thing will get them going.’
      • ‘I suppose marketing is a stranger animal than art sometimes.’
      • ‘Lemmy is the original rock and roll animal.’
      • ‘But I have to say, you know, I'm a press animal.’
      • ‘I could also mention her gradual realisation that a mother is a group animal and motherhood erodes independence.’
      • ‘I realise I may not be a typical radio animal, but I suspect I'm not unique either, so how is it that all of these stations continue to claim me as theirs?’

adjective

  • 1Relating to or characteristic of animals.

    ‘the evolution of animal life’
    ‘animal welfare’
    • ‘Nematodes make up the second most diverse animal phylum, second only to the arthropods.’
    • ‘Some were from breeders or animal shelters; others were pets that showed an alerting ability.’
    • ‘A central question of animal behavior is, how big will a group be?’
    • ‘All eusocial animal groups exhibit some form of division of labor.’
    • ‘There are three separable conceptions of the extent of the period of the diversification of the animal phyla.’
    • ‘Teams of police and wildlife agents are training to shut down markets and curbside animal vendors.’
    • ‘It may provide an alternative methodology aimed at replacing and reducing laboratory animal use and promote animal welfare.’
    • ‘More recently, studies have begun to include mating decisions into an integrative optimality approach to animal behavior.’
    • ‘The marine Cycliophora is the most recently described phylum in the animal kingdom.’
    • ‘In many animal species males advertise their quality with secondary sexual characteristics.’
    • ‘These masks combine avian and marine animal characteristics with the tusks and horns of land animals.’
    • ‘The initial lining is made of fine grasses and bark, and then a second lining of feathers, wool, or other animal hair is added.’
    • ‘Other eusocial animal groups defend themselves with stingers, mandibles, and sharp teeth.’
    • ‘The specific process of apoptosis first appeared with the evolution of metazoan animals and has been well conserved in all animal phyla.’
    • ‘Jellyfish belong to one of the oldest extant animal phyla, the Cnidaria.’
    • ‘But no studies have proven that a change in diet works for animal behavioral problems, he said.’
    • ‘Since Aesop mined the animal kingdom for characters, it was only natural that he incorporated plenty of birds in his fables.’
    • ‘Except for two small species of bats, there are no native mammals here to prey on or compete with introduced animal pests.’
    • ‘Arthropods, chordates and annelids are the three segmented phyla in the animal kingdom.’
    • ‘In doing the Test Your Pet home tests, you're dabbling in the study of animal behaviour.’
    1. 1.1 Of animals as distinct from plants.
      ‘tissues of animal and vegetable protein’
      • ‘In this context the issue of alien plant and animal species becomes problematic.’
      • ‘The study also identified uncontrolled use of pesticides in cities as a definite danger to plant and animal life.’
      • ‘Tibet, a source region for major rivers in China, South and Southeast Asia, is rich in plant and animal resources, which are well preserved.’
      • ‘The sale of local plant and animal products should be strictly banned and conscientious ecotourists will not buy them.’
      • ‘Protein is consumed in what he considers the ideal proportions - half from plant and half from animal sources.’
      • ‘We added copper, cobalt, selenium, molybdenum, etc to the deficient soils and transformed the plant and animal health.’
      • ‘The rubble scattered over much of the area makes it an ideal home for plant and animal species that would more normally be found in broken coastal areas.’
      • ‘People have always fashioned their medicines from plant and animal products.’
      • ‘Doreen's work is renowned for its use of large canvasses and the intricate detail inspired by plant and animal life.’
      • ‘Our insatiable appetite for food and land this century has exterminated the earth's plant and animal species 40 times faster than average.’
      • ‘This theme is reflected in the Torah, which forbids the mixing of distinct plant and animal species.’
      • ‘Desert is life-sustaining, supporting diverse plant and animal life through vast underground water sources.’
      • ‘You can jump in the water right away with an instructor and witness the most astounding underwater plant and animal life in the Caribbean.’
      • ‘Since most pesticides are not biodegradable, once they enter the food chain they persist in plant or animal bodies.’
      • ‘Costa Rica boasts six per cent of the world's plant and animal species.’
      • ‘Still, approximately 300 plant and animal species disappear each year as a result of reckless industrialization.’
      • ‘The outback landscape is varied, and plant and animal life totally unique, and the eco-systems fragile and fascinating.’
      • ‘Deforestation, injury to and loss of agricultural land, the loss of terrestrial and marine plant and animal species must be halted.’
      • ‘Studies show that replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood cholesterol levels - even if the amount and type of fat in the diet stays the same.’
      • ‘Informative site gives lots of information about plant and animal cells along with colourful pictures of these photogenic little creatures.’
      zoological, animalistic
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    2. 1.2 Characteristic of the physical and instinctive needs of animals; of the flesh rather than the spirit or intellect.
      ‘a crude surrender to animal lust’
      • ‘Brian felt it the moment he entered the city limits - a sudden primeval chill, an instinctive animal watchfulness.’
      • ‘I was brought up to believe my body is disgusting, bodily functions should not be spoken about, and sex is an animal instinct.’
      • ‘Perhaps it comes from an instinctual animal urge to have a throne or a perch.’
      • ‘To emphasize the general untrustworthiness of boys she tries to shock me by pointing out their base animal instincts.’
      • ‘As metaphysical mirror images, Yalis remind us we have various animal instincts rolled into this human form.’
      • ‘Without rest and reflection animal instincts belie our spiritual growth.’
      • ‘He made his millions with his animal instinct in the ring.’
      • ‘Christopher crumples to the ground, groans, expressing emotions in a physical, almost animal way, that most of us are incapable of.’
      • ‘Always a fast walker, he had an animal energy, was physically strong and, although short, always filled a room.’
      • ‘The sinuous, almost animal physicality which Lewis brings to her acting roles surfaces in a much more volcanic way when she picks up a mic.’
      • ‘The meaning of human life would be reduced to the physical, base animal instincts, trapped within the contours of the body.’
      • ‘In its best sense it expresses an animal instinct of self-preservation.’
      • ‘He is also unable to deny his animal instincts: ‘a wolf can change his skin but never his nature’.’
      • ‘Within the work, both dancers embody the raw passion of animal instinct and the mental anguish of knowing you are not being fulfilled.’
      • ‘Deep down inside they remain students with needs, wants and animal instincts.’
      • ‘Trading is the animal instincts part of the game, and almost a separate game in its own right.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, it seems to fly in the face of our animal instincts.’
      • ‘Perhaps it was the heat, the lack of dinner in my belly, or some deep animal instinct, but I suddenly felt the urge to tip my head back and howl like a mournful dog.’
      • ‘Can the legend be explained by animal instinct and natural intelligence alone, or did a true friendship develop between these two hunters of the sea?’
      • ‘England under Eriksson are too composed for that, conscious of the need to control animal instincts.’
      carnal, fleshly, bodily, physical, sensual
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  • 2Biology
    Relating to or denoting the pole or extremity of an embryo that contains the more active cytoplasm in the early stages of development.

    The opposite of vegetal
    • ‘Cholesterol is biologically important as a constituent of the plasma membranes of many animal cells.’
    • ‘In animal cells, mitochondria are the principal source of AOS.’
    • ‘Trounson was working on ways of preserving animal embryos.’
    • ‘In animal cells mitochondrion movement is mainly associated with microtubules (MTs).’
    • ‘The implantation into a human being of an animal gamete or embryo is banned.’
    • ‘Since that time there have been numerous studies, particularly on animal cells, investigating mitochondrial polymorphism and behaviour.’
    • ‘Manipulated to seek and destroy hardy cancer cells, viruses have been shown to shrink tumours in animal models and in early human studies.’
    • ‘It urged a ban on any use of human cells in chimps and other primates, however, as well as the introduction of animal cells into human embryos.’
    • ‘One stunning example of where the movement of a small group of cells is crucial occurs during the formation of an animal embryo.’
    • ‘The major factor in Fattom's proving that a vaccine would work was his development of an animal model of staph in mice.’
    • ‘Phthalates, industrial plasticizers that disrupt animal development, were also detected in resident crayfish.’
    • ‘In a similar fashion, the final stage of animal cytokinesis is based on de novo formation of the plasma membrane via the interdigitating microtubules known as the midbody.’
    • ‘A great deal of the book is devoted to the role that Hox genes play in the diversification of animal form during animal development and evolution.’
    • ‘Ivis uses a specially sealed chamber to hold the animal stage and a cryogenically cooled 1-in.’
    • ‘They believe patients may have been injected with an embryo's tissue extracts, skin cells or even animal stem cells instead.’
    • ‘Morphogenesis in animal embryos can also involve extensive cell migration.’

Origin

Middle English: the noun from Latin animal, based on Latin animalis ‘having breath’ from anima ‘breath’; the adjective via Old French from Latin animalis.

Pronunciation

animal

/ˈanɪm(ə)l/