- any nonhuman animal, especially a large, four-footed mammal.
- the crude animal nature common to humans and the lower animals: Hunger brought out the beast in him.
- a cruel, coarse, filthy, or otherwise beastlike person.
- a live creature, as distinguished from a plant: What manner of beast is this?
- the beast, the Antichrist. Rev. 13:18.
- any animal other than man, esp a large wild quadruped
- savage nature or characteristicsthe beast in man
- a brutal, uncivilized, or filthy person
- (tr) military slang, slang, mainly British to punish or torture (someone) in a manner that involves excessive physical exercise
c.1200, from Old French beste “animal, wild beast,” figuratively “fool, idiot” (11c., Modern French bête), from Vulgar Latin *besta, from Latin bestia “beast, wild animal,” of unknown origin. Used to translate Latin animal. Replaced Old English deor (see deer) as the generic word for “wild creature,” only to be ousted 16c. by animal. Of persons felt to be animal-like in various senses from early 13c. Of the figure in the Christian apocalypse story from late 14c.