Definition of ANIMAL


Animal is a noun that primarily refers to a multicellular, heterotrophic organism belonging to the kingdom Animalia, characterised by locomotion, sensation, and typically complex behaviours. It can be understood in various contexts:

Kingdom Animalia: As a noun, animal denotes a member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising a diverse array of organisms ranging from microscopic invertebrates to large vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.

Structural Diversity: Animals exhibit remarkable diversity in anatomy, physiology, morphology, and behavior, adapted to various ecological niches, habitats, and lifestyles across terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial environments.

Ecosystem Interactions: Animals play crucial roles in ecosystems as consumers, predators, prey, pollinators, seed dispersers, scavengers, decomposers, and ecosystem engineers, influencing nutrient cycling, energy flow, and ecological dynamics.

Biodiversity Conservation: Protecting animal species and habitats is essential for maintaining biodiversity, ecosystem stability, and ecological resilience, as well as preserving genetic resources, ecosystem services, and cultural heritage.

Domestication and Utilization: Humans have domesticated and utilized animals for various purposes, including food production, agriculture, transportation, companionship, labor, recreation, scientific research, and cultural rituals.

Ethical Considerations: Animal welfare and ethical treatment are important considerations in human-animal interactions, with ongoing debates surrounding issues such as animal rights, cruelty, exploitation, captivity, and conservation ethics.

Zoology and Ethology: Zoology is the scientific discipline dedicated to the study of animals, encompassing taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation biology.

Behavioural Patterns: Ethology examines animal behavior, cognition, communication, social organization, learning, and adaptation, shedding light on the complexities of animal minds and societies.

In summary, animal is a noun that describes a diverse group of multicellular organisms within the kingdom Animalia, playing vital ecological roles, serving human needs and interests, and inspiring scientific inquiry, conservation efforts, and ethical considerations concerning their welfare and rights.

Examples of ANIMAL in a sentence

  • The zoo is home to a wide variety of exotic animals from around the world.
  • The biologist studied the behavior of wild animals in their natural habitat.
  • Companion animals such as dogs and cats provide comfort and companionship to many people.
  • The documentary shed light on the plight of endangered animals due to habitat destruction.
  • Ethical treatment of animals is an important consideration in scientific research and agriculture.
  • The animal kingdom encompasses a wide variety of species, from tiny insects to massive whales.
  • The veterinarian specializes in treating animals of all shapes and sizes.
  • Humans are classified as animals within the scientific classification system.
  • Conservation efforts aim to protect endangered animal species from extinction.

Origin of ANIMAL

The word “animal” has a rich etymology rooted in Latin and has undergone semantic evolution over time. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Latin Origins: “Animal” is derived from the Latin word “animalis,” which comes from “anima,” meaning “breath” or “soul.” In Latin, “animalis” initially referred to a living being with breath or life force.
  • Semantic Evolution: Over time, the term “animal” expanded its meaning beyond just creatures with breath or life force to encompass all living organisms that are not plants. This broader definition includes a vast range of multicellular organisms, from insects to mammals.
  • Middle English Adoption: The word “animal” was adopted into Middle English from Old French, where it was used with similar meanings related to living beings. This adoption occurred during the Middle Ages, a period of significant linguistic borrowing and cultural exchange.
  • Modern Usage: In contemporary English, “animal” refers to any member of the kingdom Animalia, encompassing a wide variety of organisms characterized by mobility, heterotrophy, and typically multicellular structure. This includes vertebrates (such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish) as well as invertebrates (such as insects, spiders, mollusks, and crustaceans).
  • Metaphorical Usage: Beyond its biological sense, “animal” is sometimes used metaphorically to describe qualities or behaviors reminiscent of animals, such as fierceness, instinctiveness, or wildness.

Overall, the etymology of “animal” reflects its origins in Latin and its evolution to encompass a broad range of living organisms in modern English usage.


  • Creature
  • Beast
  • Fauna
  • Living Being
  • Organism
  • Critter
  • Wildlife
  • Quadruped


  • Human
  • Plant
  • Inanimate
  • Artificial
  • Synthetic
  • Nonliving
  • Object
  • Machine


  • Biology
  • Zoology
  • Wildlife
  • Pet
  • Habitat
  • Conservation
  • Species
  • Predator

🌐 🇬🇧 ANIMAL in other languages

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