bestiary definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. bestiaries
a type of medieval natural history book with descriptions and moralistic and religious interpretations of actual and mythical animals
Origin: Midieval Latin bestiarium ; from Classical Latin bestiarius, relating to beasts ; from bestia, beast
bestiary definition by American Heritage Dictionary
noun pl. bes·ti·ar·ies
- A medieval collection of stories providing physical and allegorical descriptions of real or imaginary animals along with an interpretation of the moral significance each animal was thought to embody. A number of common misconceptions relating to natural history were preserved in these popular accounts.
- A modern version of such a collection.
Origin: Medieval Latin bēstiārium, from Latin bēstia, beast.