Definition of beastly in English:



  • 1British informal Very unpleasant.

    ‘this beastly war’
    • ‘I'd been fiddling with the beastly thing for an hour and couldn't persuade it to come out.’
    • ‘But fear not as the boy wizard is only perfecting a little magic away from the prying eyes of his beastly uncle Vernon.’
    • ‘Mopp gear - the stuff soldiers have to wear to fend off the nasties - is not only beastly to wear, it also reduces your vision and slows down your optempo.’
    • ‘I swallowed my first bitter pill from this beastly industry, and have certainly learned a valuable lesson.’
    • ‘Punk, let me remind you, had happened nine years earlier and had evolved into art rock sub-genres every bit as beastly as the muck that it had, in theory, swept aside.’
    • ‘It's beastly, but it can be treated, especially if it's caught early.’
    • ‘I wonder if you wouldn't find a self-destruct timer inside the beastly things if you knew where to look.’
    • ‘Trampling in stilettos over her father's reputation, she reveals him as a drunken, hypocritical philanderer with a beastly temper.’
    • ‘Once there he got rid of those beastly worms, planted flowers and trees, and built his hundredth church, which he dedicated to the Holy Apostles.’
    • ‘The weather today has been absolutely beastly.’
    • ‘Scotland was the ‘blessed, beastly place’ and it filled his thoughts - and his work - wherever he happened to be.’
    • ‘I wish this beastly winter would hurry up & get over.’
    • ‘I once had a tiresome interview with his wife about the beastly thing.’
    • ‘It's been a beastly job - the builders had used some user-unfriendly adhesive, making the removal of the old vinyl a slow, messy and tedious task.’
    • ‘So why all the beastly transmogrifications, I ask Kay over our lunchtime bowls of coconut and lime soup.’
    • ‘It was a counter showing the beauty of his play and the beastly nature of luck.’
    • ‘Leeds, however, was dismissed in a letter as ‘a beastly place’, and Harrogate was ‘the queerest place, with the strangest people in it’.’
    • ‘Yet again you moaned about how you hate acting, hate film-making and hate all the beastly attention.’
    • ‘I used up my stash this morning when I went out to give my French beans some protection against beasties and beastly weather.’
    disagreeable, irksome, troublesome, annoying, irritating, vexatious, displeasing, uncomfortable, distressing, nasty, horrible, appalling, terrible, awful, dreadful, hateful, detestable, miserable, abominable, execrable, odious, invidious, objectionable, offensive, obnoxious, repugnant, repulsive, repellent, revolting, disgusting, distasteful, nauseating, unsavoury, unpalatable, ugly
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    1. 1.1 Unkind; malicious.
      ‘don't be beastly to him’
      • ‘Anyway, I'd better stop being a beastly child and get on with it.’
      • ‘What soft sensitivities did CNN's beastly behavior violate?’
      • ‘While lecturing the men of Ireland in public about their mistreatment of women, they apparently had no problem being beastly to each other in the privacy of their home.’
      • ‘It doesn't make you any more special than the rest of us, or excuse you for being so beastly.’
      • ‘The police said that he was quite annoyed with his wife as she had protested against his beastly act.’
      • ‘When even well-meaning people get together in hierarchical, committee-rich structures, they do beastly things and call it progress.’
      • ‘They give us a bracing insight into the beastly side of our own nature that can manifest itself in our leaders, even though we are a fundamentally decent people.’
      • ‘I tend to have little time for the argument that evil is an external property that is independent of any viewer or participant of the action mainly because it's often used by people to justify some quite beastly things.’
      • ‘You have certainly suffered from some pretty beastly journalism at times.’
      • ‘Why are women quite so beastly to each other in these post-feminist times?’
      • ‘And then I have great sympathy for him, as far as the press are concerned, because the press are pretty beastly to all the royal family these days.’
      • ‘Professor Hanson was being quite beastly to Jane when Dick's hand shot up amidst the sea of uniforms with a question.’
      • ‘Also left to guesswork is the complicity of the prison authorities in this beastly society.’
      • ‘At the same time, beastly community wardens are roaming around beady-eyed and as keen as mustard, driving the revellers, drug dealers, stolen property swappers and worse off the streets.’
      • ‘Now see here, my good man, if we send these fellows back, will you promise not to be beastly to them?’
      • ‘Kennedy's lieutenants made it known they want him to quit, but would not be so beastly as to force him to go.’
      • ‘When she is not at her desk, nervy Virginia is being beastly to the staff, ordering her mutinous cook to make a train journey all the way from Richmond to the centre of town to get some sugar-ginger for lunch.’
      • ‘How man turns beastly to man as soon as you grant him an inch of power over his victim was very interesting, especially the power games and humiliation meted out.’
      • ‘He was always to be found sulking in a saturnine fashion and behaving in a beastly way to Margaret Lockwood or Ann Todd.’
  • 2archaic Cruel and unrestrained.

    ‘beastly immorality’
    • ‘But it was beastly, their violence and our fear of violence.’
    • ‘Machiavelli's celebrated advice is that he will come off best if he learns to imitate both the fox and the lion, supplementing the ideals of manly decency with the beastly arts of force and fraud.’
    savage, cruel, bloodthirsty, vicious, ferocious, barbaric, barbarous, wicked, murderous, cold-blooded, hard-hearted, harsh
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informal, dated
  • as submodifier To an extreme and unpleasant degree.

    ‘a beastly dull wedding party’
    • ‘That was beastly uncomfortable, and made me even more glum.’
    • ‘The wide obi is very beautiful but it looks beastly uncomfortable.’
    • ‘Napa cabernets and the so-called ‘cult’ cabs can be beastly expensive, but not necessarily better.’
    • ‘That may be satisfactory to you but it is beastly monotonous here.’