Animal definition

ănə-məl
Frequency:
An animal organism other than a human, especially a mammal.
noun
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Any of the multicellular organisms belonging to the kingdom Animalia. All animals are eukaryotes, with each of their cells having a nucleus containing DNA. Most animals develop from a blastula and have a digestive tract, nervous system, the ability to move voluntarily, and specialized sensory organs for recognizing and responding to stimuli in the environment. Animals are heterotrophs, feeding on plants, other animals, or organic matter. The first animals probably evolved from protists and appeared during the Precambrian Era.
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Any of numerous multicellular eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Metazoa (or Animalia) that ingest food rather than manufacturing it themselves and are usually able to move about during at least part of their life cycle. Sponges, jellyfishes, flatworms, mollusks, arthropods, and vertebrates are animals.
noun
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4
An animal organism other than a human, especially a mammal.
noun
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A human considered with respect to his or her physical nature, as opposed to rational or spiritual nature.
noun
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Any of a kingdom (Animalia) of eukaryotes generally characterized by a multicellular body, the ability to move quickly and obtain food, specialized sense organs, and sexual reproduction.
noun
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A brutish, debased, or inhuman person.
noun
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A person having a specified aptitude or set of interests.
noun
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Relating to, characteristic of, or derived from an animal or animals, especially when not human.

Animal cells; animal welfare.

adjective
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Relating to the physical as distinct from the rational or spiritual nature of people.

Animal instincts and desires.

adjective
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(informal) A person, thing, concept, etc. thought of as a kind or type.

Today's athlete is another animal altogether.

noun
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Of, like, or derived from animals.
adjective
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Physical rather than mental or spiritual; specif., sensual, gross, bestial, etc.
adjective
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The definition of an animal is a member of the kingdom Animalia, and is typically characterized by a multicellular body, specialized sense organs, voluntary movement, responses to factors in the environment and the ability to acquire and digest food.

A horse, lion and human are each an example of an animal.

noun
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In scientific usage, a multicellular organism that is usually mobile, whose cells are not encased in a rigid cell wall (distinguishing it from plants and fungi) and which derives energy solely from the consumption of other organisms (distinguishing it from plants).

A cat is an animal, not a plant. Humans are also animals, under the scientific definition, as we are not plants.

noun
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In non-scientific usage, any member of the kingdom Animalia other than a human being.
noun
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In non-scientific usage, any land-living vertebrate (i.e. not birds, fishes, insects etc.).
noun
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(figuratively) A person who behaves wildly; a bestial, brutal, brutish, cruel, or inhuman person.

My students are animals.

noun
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(informal) A person of a particular type.

A political animal.

noun
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Of or relating to animals.

Animal instincts.

adjective
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Raw, base, unhindered by social codes.

Animal passions.

adjective
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Pertaining to the spirit or soul; relating to sensation or innervation.
adjective
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(slang, Ireland) Excellent.
adjective
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Any of numerous multicellular eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Metazoa (or Animalia) that ingest food rather than manufacturing it themselves and are usually able to move about during at least part of their life cycle. Sponges, jellyfishes, flatworms, mollusks, arthropods, and vertebrates are animals.
noun
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A person who behaves in a bestial or brutish manner.
noun
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Any such organism other than a human being, esp. a mammal or, often, any four-footed creature.
noun
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the animal
  • animal nature; animality
    It's the animal in him.
idiom
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
animal
Plural:
animals

Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

the animal

Origin of animal

  • Middle English from Latin from animāle neuter of animālis living from anima soul anə- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English animal, from Old French animal, from Latin animal, a nominal use of an adjective from animale, neuter of animalis, from anima (“breath, spirit”). Displaced native Middle English deor, der (“animal”) (from Old English dēor (“animal”)), Middle English reother (“animal, neat”) (from Old English hrīþer, hrȳþer (“neat, ox”)).

    From Wiktionary

  • From Latin animalis, from either anima (“breath, spirit”) or animus. Originally distinct from the noun, it became associated with attributive use of the noun and is now indistinguishable from it.

    From Wiktionary