Definition of bestial in US English:



  • 1Of or like an animal or animals.

    ‘Darwin's revelations about our bestial beginnings’
    • ‘The werewolf shows that either humans can temporarily lose conscience and become animal or that bestial wildness is part of conscience itself.’
    • ‘He was a rough man, but out of his venality and his bestial nature erupted this divine expression on the canvas.’
    • ‘In other words, stripping Alex of a noble passion is of equal pleasure to stripping him of ostensibly bestial urges.’
    • ‘‘Surely we can celebrate human endeavour in an appropriate way other than raising statues that represent bestial figures of ancient mythology and a goddess of a dead religion,’ said their pastor.’
    • ‘Should you lose all your humanity at any time in the game, you go bestial and become uncontrollable.’
    • ‘In Jekyll there lurks a monster of unstoppable proportions and unbridled bestial aggression.’
    • ‘It is always convenient to regard foreign populations as inferior, more convenient still to regard them as animalistic, or bestial, especially when you have decided to enslave or eliminate them.’
    • ‘I had shaped, in clay, a large mouth, belonging to no creature I knew about, from which protruded, instead of a tongue, another bestial mouth.’
    • ‘The stranger has animal magnetism, but no other bestial quality.’
    • ‘These strange forms exude a sense of magical, super-human power, evoking a quality both bestial and human, and an otherworldliness that is fantastic and supernatural.’
    • ‘Some seventeenth-century theriophilists replied that bestial lack of reason was not a curse, while others denied that animals lack reason.’
    • ‘His only other friends are shapeshifters and a hairy, bestial half-giant… and Dumbledore, who's frighteningly absent much of the time.’
    • ‘It can sound slightly comical, or sinister and bestial, but mostly I find it evocatively beautiful, perhaps because it sounds so otherworldly, so little like a human sound.’
    • ‘He kept reading.… Othello's jealousy manifests itself in the imagery of the bestial, which Shakespeare utilises as a motif of animal passion and the absence of reason…’
    • ‘In fact, the most despicably represented group are the bestial soldiers who, cajoled on by a hooded Satan looking on from the crowd, take great pleasure in his suffering.’
    • ‘Her affection for horses, dogs and myriad other bestial examples of rurality is such that both her everyday life and her fiction overflows with loyal hounds, rampant stallions and personifications thereof.’
    • ‘The audience is even more disturbed by this almost bestial love-story.’
    • ‘I cannot therefore believe that even the body, much less the mind, can really be changed into bestial forms and lineaments by any reason, art, or power of the demons.’
    • ‘"GGRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr…" was the cue, along with much gnashing of teeth and bestial grunting in a wrathful type manner.’
    • ‘The prime minister glared with the viciousness of a cornered beast, partly because she was cornered and partly because she is bestial.’
    animal, beast-like, animalistic
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    1. 1.1 Savagely cruel and depraved.
      ‘bestial and barbaric acts’
      • ‘I cannot think of another movie more worthy of the mark of the Beast than this bestial paean of torture and death.’
      • ‘They are coming back and they are going to hunt down the people responsible for this bestial act.’
      • ‘It was a bestial reminder of man's inhumanity to man.’
      • ‘But I just do not, cannot understand how anyone could possibly want to kill someone in such a vicious, bestial way.’
      • ‘He comes from a country where dogs are very popular - as a delicacy on the dinner table, after they have been killed in the most cruel, vile, inhumane, and bestial circumstances.’
      • ‘What the coalition forces have confirmed is the bestial brutality of his regime.’
      • ‘When the ethnic or tribal hatred is as deep-rooted and has as its background such bestial conduct, it is ridiculous for the international community to try to re-impose the status quo ante.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's necessary to have armed helicopters extending the rule of law to stop that kind of bestial violence.’
      • ‘In its 1999 decision, the trial court denounced him as ‘repugnant, bestial and sadistic.’’
      • ‘Simultaneously marked by its bestial savagery and spiritual transcendence, the primitive other is made to coalesce the physical with the metaphysical.’
      • ‘The velocity and ferocity of some of the attack moves that zoom around the arena are truly bestial in their utter savagery.’
      • ‘Because in the free and open parts of the globalised world, the only other option for us all will be to erect our barbed-wire fences and hire our personal security guards, and wait in fear for the bestial truth to come for us, too.’
      • ‘The mentality of collective punishment raises its ugly head in all wars, there is no difference in the behavior of soldiers at war, they all act in the most bestial way.’
      • ‘He has showed no remorse for treating the girl with disgusting violence and that his behaviour was bestial.’
      • ‘That such a civilised, distinguished nation should be overcome by such bestial lunacy, that perfectly decent people turned into monsters… It reminds us what a savage species we are.’
      • ‘The Committee will not stop its work until ‘those who organized and particularly those who ordered this bestial crime have been arrested and brought to justice.’’
      • ‘And if their de facto support for the old regime weren't clear enough, some of these people are calling for the reinstatement of his bestial police forces.’
      • ‘We stamp on the downfallen with indecent and bestial excitement, and I know we'd be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves if we just stood back for one moment and reflected on what we were doing.’
      • ‘The bill is silent about the anti-social behaviour of the rich in places such as the City of London, described as one of the world's most ‘brutal and bestial places to work’ in a recent article in the Financial Times.’
      • ‘No matter how cruel and bestial Caroline could be, he always found a better side of her to ponder upon.’
      savage, brutish, brutal, barbarous, barbaric, cruel, vicious, violent, inhuman, subhuman
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Late Middle English: via Old French from late Latin bestialis, from Latin bestia ‘beast’.