19 January 2004

From the Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed.

animal, n. and a.

A. n.

1. a. A living being; a member of the higher of the two series of organized beings, of which the typical forms are endowed with life, sensation, and voluntary motion, but of which the lowest forms are hardly distinguishable from the lowest vegetable forms by any more certain marks than their evident relationship to other animal forms, and thus to the animal series as a whole rather than to the vegetable series.

b. The living body or soft fleshy part of a mollusc, crustacean, etc., as distinguished from its shell or other hard part.

2. In common usage: one of the lower animals; a brute, or beast, as distinguished from man. (Often restricted by the uneducated to quadrupeds; and familiarly applied especially to such as are used by man, as a horse, ass, or dog.)

3. a. Contemptuously or humorously for: a human being who is no better than a brute, or whose animal nature has the ascendancy over his reason; a mere animal. (Cf. similar use of creature.)

b. With the. The animal nature in man: cf. beast n. 1c.

4. As in the slang phr. 'go the whole hog.'

5. ellipt. in pl. for animal spirits. Obs. rare.

6. colloq. A person, thing; esp. in phr. (there is) no such animal.

B. adj.

1. Connected with sensation, innervation, or will; sometimes = psychical. (Opposed to vital and natural; the animal functions being those of the brain and nervous system; the vital of the heart, lungs, etc.; and the natural those of nutrition and assimilation.) See animal spirits. Obs.

2. Animate, living, organized, as opposed to inanimate. Obs. rare.

3. Of or pertaining to the functions of animals; or of those parts of the nature of man which he shares with the inferior animals. (Thus opposed to intellectual and spiritual).

4. a. Carnal, fleshly, as opposed to moral, spiritual.

b. Characteristic of or resembling (that of) a lower animal. Also Comb., as animal-bodied adj.

5. Of or pertaining to animals, as opposed to vegetables. (Not separable from the n. used attrib.) Cf. animal pole below and vegetative a. 1d.)

C. Comb. and phrases. Here it is often impossible to separate the n. and adj. (see prec.)

1. attrib. or adj. animal-lover, -name, -ornament; animal black, that formed by the carbonization of animal substance (cf. bone-black, ivory-black); animal charcoal, that formed by charring animal substance; animal electricity, that developed in certain animals, as the torpedo and electric eel; animal food, animal substances used as food; animal flower, one of the actinozoa, as the sea-anemone; animal grab [grab n.2 5], a card game similar to 'snap'; animal heat, the constant temperature maintained within the bodies of living animals; animal kingdom, the whole species of animals viewed scientifically, as one of the three great divisions of natural objects; animal liberation, the act or process of freeing animals from exploitation (e.g. in laboratory experiments) by man; applied chiefly attrib. to groups dedicated to this, as Animal Liberation Front; hence animal liberationist; animal magnetism = mesmerism; animal magnetist, a mesmerist; animal myth, one founded upon the habits of animals; animal painter, a painter of animals as opposed to landscapes, portraits, or incidents of human action; so animal painting and animal piece; animal plant, a zoophyte or polype, as coral; animal pole Embryology (see quots. and cf. pole n.2 7); animal psychology, the study of the behaviour of animals; hence animal psychologist; animal rights [after human rights, etc.], the natural rights of animals to live free from exploitation, confinement, etc., by humans; esp. as the slogan of a movement seeking to achieve this end; animal size [size n.2], a size made from gelatine; animal tree, one cut into the outline of an animal; animal (tub)-sized, tub-sizing (see quot. 1937 and tub n. 10); animal world, the world of animals. Also animal spirits, q.v.

2. similative and synthetic deriv., as animal-minded.


animal, n. and a. Add: [C.] [1.] animal-free a., (esp. of diet or foodstuffs) not containing or using animal products.