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[mon-ster] /ˈmɒn stər/
a legendary animal combining features of animal and human form or having the forms of various animals in combination, as a centaur, griffin, or sphinx.
any creature so ugly or monstrous as to frighten people.
any animal or human grotesquely deviating from the normal shape, behavior, or character.
a person who excites horror by wickedness, cruelty, etc.
any animal or thing huge in size.
  1. an animal or plant of abnormal form or structure, as from marked malformation or the absence of certain parts or organs.
  2. a grossly anomalous fetus or infant, especially one that is not viable.
anything unnatural or monstrous.
huge; enormous; monstrous:
a monster tree.
Origin of monster
1250-1300; Middle English monstre < Latin mōnstrum portent, unnatural event, monster, equivalent to mon(ēre) to warn + -strum noun suffix
Related forms
monsterlike, adjective
4. fiend, brute, demon, devil, miscreant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for monster
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Count, it appeared, was a monster of jealousy—he had led her a dreadful life.

  • But in those days a father who demanded obedience wasn't considered a monster.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • Hidesato, without a moment's hesitation, climbed over the monster and proceeded on his way.

    Myths & Legends of Japan F. Hadland (Frederick Hadland) Davis
  • But Theseus by this time had leaped up, and caught the monster off his guard.

    Tanglewood Tales Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Here was another undercurrent, driving a monster iceberg through a field of broken ice at the rate of four knots per hour!

British Dictionary definitions for monster


an imaginary beast, such as a centaur, usually made up of various animal or human parts
a person, animal, or plant with a marked structural deformity
a cruel, wicked, or inhuman person
  1. a very large person, animal, or thing
  2. (as modifier): a monster cake
verb (transitive)
(Austral & NZ, informal) to criticize (a person or group) severely
(Austral & NZ, sport) to use intimidating tactics against (an opponent)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French monstre, from Latin monstrum portent, from monēre to warn
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 monster

early 14c., "malformed animal or human, creature afflicted with a birth defect," from Old French monstre, mostre "monster, monstrosity" (12c.), and directly from Latin monstrum "divine omen, portent, sign; abnormal shape; monster, monstrosity," figuratively "repulsive character, object of dread, awful deed, abomination," from root of monere "warn" (see monitor (n.)). Abnormal or prodigious animals were regarded as signs or omens of impending evil. Extended by late 14c. to imaginary animals composed of parts of creatures (centaur, griffin, etc.). Meaning "animal of vast size" is from 1520s; sense of "person of inhuman cruelty or wickedness" is from 1550s. As an adjective, "of extraordinary size," from 1837. In Old English, the monster Grendel was an aglæca, a word related to aglæc "calamity, terror, distress, oppression."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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monster in Medicine

monster mon·ster (mŏn'stər)

  1. An animal, a plant, or other organism having structural defects or deformities.

  2. A fetus or an infant that is grotesquely abnormal and usually not viable.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for monster



  1. : users of scag and monster drugs
  2. Enormous; overwhelming; humongous: his monster ego/ a monster rally (1837+)
  3. Very good; cool, killer, rad (1990s+ Teenagers)


  1. A narcotic that acts on the central nervous system (1960s+ Narcotics)
  2. A bestseller, esp a recording (1970s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with monster


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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