An animal is a particular kind of living organism, one that can move voluntarily and can find and digest food. Your favorite animal might be the naked mole rat, but probably not.

Although a human is biologically an animal, the word often distinguishes humans from other kinds of animals, like when scientists talk about diseases passing from animals to people. Sometimes the word animal means a cruel, violent, or uncivilized person: "He just destroyed my house at the party last night — what an animal!" The Latin word for "soul," anima, led to animale, or "living being, a being that breathes." Before 1500, the word "beast" was much more commonly used than animal.

Primary Meanings of animal

a living organism characterized by voluntary movement
marked by the appetites and passions of the body
Full Definitions of animal

n a living organism characterized by voluntary movement

animate being, beast, brute, creature, fauna
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Easter bunny
a rabbit that delivers Easter eggs
church mouse
a fictional mouse created by Lewis Carroll
Mickey Mouse
a fictional mouse created in animated film strips by Walt Disney
Minnie Mouse
the partner of Mickey Mouse
Donald Duck
a fictional duck created in animated film strips by Walt Disney
Mighty Mouse
a fictional mouse endowed with great strength and courage
incomplete skeleton of female found in eastern Ethiopia in 1974
Sir Barton
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1919
Gallant Fox
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1930
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1935
War Admiral
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1937
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1941
Count Fleet
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1943
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1946
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1948
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1973
Seattle Slew
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1977
thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1978
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any unwanted and destructive insect or other animal that attacks food or crops or livestock etc.
a regional term for `creature' (especially for domestic animals)
an animal that creeps or crawls (such as worms or spiders or insects)
a person or other animal that moves abruptly and rapidly
an animal that makes short high-pitched sounds
homeotherm, homoiotherm, homotherm
an animal that has a body temperature that is relatively constant and independent of the environmental temperature
ectotherm, poikilotherm
an animal whose body temperature varies with the temperature of its surroundings; any animal except birds and mammals
range animal
any animal that lives and grazes in the grassy open land of western North America (especially horses, cattle, sheep)
varment, varmint
any usually predatory wild animal considered undesirable; e.g., coyote
any animal that feeds on refuse and other decaying organic matter
work animal
an animal trained for and used for heavy labor
domestic animal, domesticated animal
any of various animals that have been tamed and made fit for a human environment
an animal that feeds on a particular source of food
an animal (especially birds and fish) that travels between different habitats at particular times of the year
molter, moulter
an animal (especially birds and arthropods and reptiles) that periodically shed their outer layer (feathers or cuticle or skin or hair)
a domesticated animal kept for companionship or amusement
a person or other animal having powers of endurance or perseverance
a creature (especially a whale) that has been prevented from attaining full growth
marine animal, marine creature, sea animal, sea creature
any of numerous animals inhabiting the sea including e.g. fishes and molluscs and many mammals
an animal that produces gametes (ova) that can be fertilized by male gametes (spermatozoa)
an animal that produces gametes (spermatozoa) that can fertilize female gametes (ova)
any mature animal
offspring, young
any immature animal
pureblood, purebred, thoroughbred
a pedigreed animal of unmixed lineage; used especially of horses
any creature of exceptional size
an animal that survives in spite of adversity
an animal that has undergone mutation
any animal that feeds chiefly on grass and other plants
any organism that feeds mainly on insects
an animal having teeth consolidated with the summit of the alveolar ridge without sockets
an animal having teeth fused with the inner surface of the alveolar ridge without sockets
animal constituent of plankton; mainly small crustaceans and fish larvae
conceptus, embryo, fertilized egg
an animal organism in the early stages of growth and differentiation that in higher forms merge into fetal stages but in lower forms terminate in commencement of larval life
any animal of the phylum Chordata having a notochord or spinal column
any animal lacking a backbone or notochord; the term is not used as a scientific classification
any animal of the subkingdom Metazoa; all animals except protozoans and sponges
an animal that feeds on both animal and vegetable substances
predator, predatory animal
any animal that lives by preying on other animals
prey, quarry
animal hunted or caught for food
animal hunted for food or sport
an animal having six feet
an animal with two feet
the immature free-living form of most invertebrates and amphibians and fish which at hatching from the egg is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose
an animal that races
fictional animal
animals that exist only in fiction (usually in children's stories)
an animal that is confined
the partner of an animal (especially a sexual partner)
any of various small animals or insects that are pests; e.g. cockroaches or rats
a scavenger that feeds low on the food chain
beast of burden, jument
an animal such as a donkey or ox or elephant used for transporting loads or doing other heavy work
draft animal
an animal used for pulling heavy loads
an animal being fattened or suitable for fattening
a domestic animal (especially a young steer or heifer) kept as stock until fattened or matured and suitable for a breeding establishment
any recently hatched animal (especially birds)
a single domestic animal
by-catch, bycatch
unwanted marine creatures that are caught in the nets while fishing for another species
female of certain aquatic animals e.g. octopus or lobster
a young animal without a mother
young mammal
any immature mammal
male parent of an animal especially a domestic animal such as a horse
female parent of an animal especially domestic livestock
any animal that feeds on flesh
blastosphere, blastula
early stage of an embryo produced by cleavage of an ovum; a liquid-filled sphere whose wall is composed of a single layer of cells; during this stage (about eight days after fertilization) implantation in the wall of the uterus occurs
double-walled stage of the embryo resulting from invagination of the blastula; the outer layer of cells is the ectoderm and the inner layer differentiates into the mesoderm and endoderm
a solid mass of blastomeres that forms when the zygote splits; develops into the blastula
fish-like animals having a notochord rather than a true spinal column
tunicate, urochord, urochordate
primitive marine animal having a saclike unsegmented body and a urochord that is conspicuous in the larva
ascidian tadpole
free-swimming larva of ascidians; they have a tail like a tadpole that contains the notochord
craniate, vertebrate
animals having a bony or cartilaginous skeleton with a segmented spinal column and a large brain enclosed in a skull or cranium
young bird
a bird that is still young
invertebrate having jointed limbs and a segmented body with an exoskeleton made of chitin
female mammal
animals that nourish their young with milk
any of various invertebrate animals resembling a plant such as a sea anemone or coral or sponge
parazoan, poriferan, sponge
primitive multicellular marine animal whose porous body is supported by a fibrous skeletal framework; usually occurs in sessile colonies
cnidarian, coelenterate
radially symmetrical animals having saclike bodies with only one opening and tentacles with stinging structures; they occur in polyp and medusa forms
comb jelly, ctenophore
biradially symmetrical hermaphroditic solitary marine animals resembling jellyfishes having for locomotion eight rows of cilia arranged like teeth in a comb
any of numerous relatively small elongated soft-bodied animals especially of the phyla Annelida and Chaetognatha and Nematoda and Nemertea and Platyhelminthes; also many insect larvae
borer, woodborer
any of various insects or larvae or mollusks that bore into wood
bladder worm
encysted saclike larva of the tapeworm
tadpole-shaped parasitic larva of a trematode worm; tail disappears in adult stage
minute aquatic multicellular organisms having a ciliated wheel-like organ for feeding and locomotion; constituents of freshwater plankton
mollusc, mollusk, shellfish
invertebrate having a soft unsegmented body usually enclosed in a shell
a young oyster or other bivalve
Canis familiaris, dog, domestic dog
a member of the genus Canis (probably descended from the common wolf) that has been domesticated by man since prehistoric times; occurs in many breeds
a tall slender dog of an ancient breed noted for swiftness and keen sight; used as a racing dog
Felis catus, Felis domesticus, domestic cat, house cat
any domesticated member of the genus Felis
an animal that has strayed (especially a domestic animal)
big game
large animals that are hunted for sport
game bird
any bird (as grouse or pheasant) that is hunted for sport
wormlike larva of various elaterid beetles; feeds on roots of many crop plants
the larva of beetles of the family Tenebrionidae
wiggler, wriggler
larva of a mosquito
jointworm, strawworm
larva of chalcid flies injurious to the straw of wheat and other grains
ant lion, antlion, doodlebug
the larva of any of several insects
aphid lion, aphis lion
carnivorous larva of lacewing flies
dobson, hellgrammiate
large brown aquatic larva of the dobsonfly; used as fishing bait
insect larva that constructs a protective case around its body
a wormlike and often brightly colored and hairy or spiny larva of a butterfly or moth
a larva of an insect with incomplete metamorphosis (as the dragonfly or mayfly)
slender transparent larva of eels and certain fishes
botfly larva; typically develops inside the body of a horse or sheep or human
a soft thick wormlike larva of certain beetles and other insects
hermaphrodite wormlike animal living in mud of the sea bottom
bryozoan, moss animal, polyzoan, sea mat, sea moss
sessile aquatic animal forming mossy colonies of small polyps each having a curved or circular ridge bearing tentacles; attach to stones or seaweed and reproduce by budding
sessile mossy aquatic animal having the anus of the polyp outside the crown of tentacles
any of various moss-like aquatic animals usually forming branching colonies; each polyp having a both mouth and anus within a closed ring of tentacles
Symbion pandora
only known species of Cycliophora; lives symbiotically attached to a lobster's lip by an adhesive disk and feeding by means of a hairy mouth ring; its complex life cycle includes asexual and sexual phases
brachiopod, lamp shell, lampshell
marine animal with bivalve shell having a pair of arms bearing tentacles for capturing food; found worldwide
peanut worm, sipunculid
small unsegmented marine worm that when disturbed retracts its anterior portion into the body giving the appearance of a peanut
marine invertebrates with tube feet and five-part radially symmetrical bodies
a young female horse under the age of four
a young male horse under the age of four
male horse
the male of species Equus caballus
a horse trained to run in steeplechases
an animal that wins in a contest of speed
bullock, steer
castrated bull
polliwog, pollywog, tadpole
a larval frog or toad
young fish
a fish that is young
Type of:
being, organism
a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently

adj marked by the appetites and passions of the body

animal instincts”
carnal, fleshly, sensual
involving the body as distinguished from the mind or spirit