Definition of bestiary in English:

bestiary

noun

  • A descriptive or anecdotal treatise on various kinds of animal, especially a medieval work with a moralizing tone.

    • ‘He found room for them in the bestiary of his mind, and there they stayed.’
    • ‘the central character in the Roman de Renart, a series of popular satirical fables, related to the bestiaries and the tradition from Aesop's Fables, written in France at various times c. 1175-1250.’
    • ‘Reminded me of reading in a medieval bestiary how lions would rescue people, and feeling rather superior as I read it.’
    • ‘To get an insight into the kinds of meanings attached to animals, birds, etc. in medieval times your best bet will be a bestiary.’
    • ‘They typically demand some bizarre chimera: a part goat, part rooster sort of monster appropriate to a medieval bestiary or science fiction.’
    • ‘On the one hand, he uses the bestiary to explain how he turns her space into a prison.’
    • ‘There are bestiaries, illustrated books about animals, whose charm derives from the ignorance of those who made them: they painted lions and elephants without having seen any.’
    • ‘Early pattern books contained ornaments and drawings related to the applied arts, initials and capital letters, human figures from a biblical context, and animals in the style of the traditional bestiary.’
    • ‘No one has ever found the semi-bat or the quasi-whale, and no one has ever managed to envision the common ancestor of the fantastic bestiary of mammalian orders.’
    • ‘If Charles Dickens had created a bestiary, it might have resembled this one: It's positively jovial with oddity.’
    • ‘In place of conventional biblical and hagiographic narratives, we find subjects based more loosely on the bestiary, the Psalms, moralizing treatises, and monastic accounts of dreams and hallucinations.’
    • ‘And that's where this this info about antlions in medieval bestiaries, and this riddle comes from: which is apparently by St Aldhelm (find him in the Book of Days if you want to know more).’
    • ‘We read, color, do the alphabet and numbers and bestiaries - when she identifies a small rodent as ‘de mohs’ it's so sweet it makes Mogen David taste like paint thinner.’
    • ‘Unlike the four colors, which animals we picture for each varies from tribe to tribe and place to place, drawn from the bestiary of local animal spirits that best represent what they experience as the personality of each power.’
    • ‘Long-faced, often sporting four horns, it resembles a creature in a medieval bestiary.’
    • ‘In medieval art, particularly in illustrated bestiaries, the possible combinations of animals multiplied, as composite beings came to be seen as part of creation, providing evidence of the limitless power of God.’
    • ‘Our challenge is to acknowledge the complexity of the modern bestiary; with all of its fact, myth, rumor, fable and legend; and to responsibly explore the possibilities for design intervention.’
    • ‘In medieval bestiaries the whale mistaken for an island is usually equated with the devil, who lures the unwary from the safety of their ship, the church.’
    • ‘Two companion works, Six of the bestiary and Quartet of beasts, illustrate an ancient Chinese encyclopaedia in which the entire animal kingdom is broken down into fourteen categories.’
    • ‘We're toying with some ideas about keeping a bestiary in the journal as well which will record any good advice the player comes across about fighting against a certain monster or using a particular weapon class.’
    moral tale, parable, apologue, allegory, bestiary
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 19th century: from medieval Latin bestiarium, from Latin bestia beast.

Pronunciation:

bestiary

/ˈbɛstɪəri/