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 ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.