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[bes-chuh l, bees-] /ˈbɛs tʃəl, ˈbis-/
of, relating to, or having the form of a beast:
the belief that a person could assume bestial form after death; the bestial signs of the zodiac.
without reason or intelligence; brutal; inhuman:
bestial treatment of prisoners.
beastlike in gratifying one's sensual desires; carnal; debased.
Origin of bestial
1350-1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin bēstiālis (Latin bēsti(a) beast + -ālis -al1)
Related forms
bestially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bestial
  • To bemoan such savagery as accursed, inhuman and bestial does not even begin to describe it.
  • But his view of humanity is a bleak one, predicated as it is on the bestial uniformity of the species.
  • They also tear across the stage with bestial ferocity.
  • bestial or childish blacks were comic relief in early films, and they were mascots of all-white baseball teams.
  • The only human sounds are bestial grunts and chortles.
  • The big story is not the push to modernize but the struggle to civilize, to curb the bestial side of human nature.
  • The soundtrack switches to repeated, insane, bestial screaming.
  • There's also no doubt that he and his successors often behaved as bestial murderers.
  • There was this incredibly bestial practice of cutting off limbs, chopping arms and hands.
  • Her human form watches over several bestial figures, suggesting that human reason presides over primal instincts.
British Dictionary definitions for bestial


brutal or savage
sexually depraved; carnal
lacking in refinement; brutish
of or relating to a beast
Derived Forms
bestially, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin bestiālis, from Latin bestiabeast
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bestial

late 14c., from Old French bestial (13c.) "relating to animals, stupid, foolish, bestial" and directly from Latin bestialis "like a beast," from bestia (see beast). Sense of "below the dignity of a human" is from c.1400, and in many cases its use is unjust to the beasts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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