1. 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.
2. An animal organism other than a human, especially a mammal.
3. A person who behaves in a bestial or brutish manner.
4. A human considered with respect to his or her physical nature, as opposed to rational or spiritual nature.
5. A person having a specified aptitude or set of interests: "that rarest of musical animals, an instrumentalist who is as comfortable on a podium with a stick as he is playing his instrument" (Lon Tuck).
1. Relating to, characteristic of, or derived from an animal or animals, especially when not human: animal cells; animal welfare.
2. Relating to the physical as distinct from the rational or spiritual nature of people: animal instincts and desires.
[Middle English, from Latin, from animāle, neuter of animālis, living, from anima, soul; see anə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 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.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus