1. An animal other than a human, especially a large four-footed mammal.
2. Animal nature as opposed to intellect or spirit: an insult that brought out the beast in him.
3. A very large or powerful person or thing: drives a beast of a truck.
4. Something of a specified kind: Her latest film is an odd beast.
5. A brutal, contemptible person.
[Middle English beste, from Old French, from Latin bēstia.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.