Meaning of “animal” in the English Dictionary

"animal" in British English

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animalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈæn.ɪ.məl/ us /ˈæn.ə.məl/

animal noun [ C ] (CREATURE)

A1 something that lives and moves but is not a human, bird, fish, or insect:

wild/domestic animals
Both children are real animal lovers.
Surveys show that animal welfare has recently become a major concern for many schoolchildren.

B2 anything that lives and moves, including people, birds, etc.:

Humans, insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals are all animals.

More examples

  • The panda is becoming an increasingly rare animal.
  • The farmer was accused of cruelty to animals.
  • Some animals hunt at night.
  • These remote islands are inhabited only by birds and small animals.
  • Personally , I don't think animals should be killed for their fur.

animal noun [ C ] (TYPE)

used to describe what type of person or thing someone or something is:

At heart she is a political animal.
She is that rare animal (= she is very unusual), a brilliant scientist who can communicate her ideas to ordinary people.
Feminism in France and England are rather different animals (= are different).

animaladjective

uk /ˈæn.ɪ.məl/ us /ˈæn.ə.məl/

animal adjective (PHYSICAL)

[ before noun ] relating to physical desires or needs, and not spiritual or mental ones:

As an actor, he has a sort of animal magnetism.
She knew that Dave wasn't the right man for her but she couldn't deny the animal attraction between them.

(Definition of “animal” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"animal" in American English

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animalnoun [ C ]

us /ˈæn·ə·məl/

animal noun [ C ] (LIVING THING)

a living thing that can move and eat and react to the world through its senses, esp. of sight and hearing:

Mammals, insects, reptiles, and birds are all animals.

In ordinary use, animal means all living beings except humans:

A lion is a wild animal, and a dog is a domestic animal.
Tests of the drug were done on laboratory animals.

An animal is also a person who likes something or does something more than most people do:

a party animal
He’s the most political animal on the city council.

animal noun [ C ] (GROUP)

biology us /ˈæn·ə·məl/ [ U ] one of five kingdoms (= groups) into which living things are divided, the members of which have many cells, have the ability to control their own movement, and get their energy from eating rather than from the light of the sun

animaladjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈæn·ə·məl/

animal adjective [ not gradable ] (PHYSICAL)

relating to physical needs or desires, such as to eat or reproduce:

Animal instincts apply to all animals, including humans.

(Definition of “animal” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)