American English

Definition of animal noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a creature that is not a bird, a fish, a reptile, an insect, or a human the animals and birds of South America a small furry animal Fish oils are less saturated than animal fats. domestic animals such as dogs and cats
  2. 2 any living thing that is not a plant or a human the animal kingdom This product has not been tested on animals.
  3. 3any living creature, including humans Humans are the only animals to have developed speech. Topic CollocationsThe Living Worldanimals animals mate/breed/reproduce/feed (on something) fish/amphibians swim/spawn (= lay eggs) birds fly/migrate/nest/sing insects crawl/fly/bite/sting insects/bees/locusts swarm bees collect/gather nectar/pollen spiders spin/weave a web snakes/lizards shed their skins bears/hedgehogs/frogs hibernate insect larvae grow/develop/pupate an egg/a chick/a larva hatches attract/find/choose a mate produce/release eggs/sperm lay/fertilize/incubate/hatch eggs inhabit a forest/a reef/the coast mark/enter/defend (a) territory stalk/hunt/capture/catch/kill preyplants and fungi trees/plants grow/bloom/blossom/flower a seed germinates/sprouts leaves/buds/roots/shoots appear/develop/form flower buds swell/open a fungus grows/spreads/colonizes something pollinate/fertilize a flower/plant produce/release/spread/disperse pollen/seeds/spores produce/bear fruit develop/grow/form roots/shoots/leaves provide/supply/absorb/extract/release nutrients perform/increase/reduce photosynthesisbacteria and viruses bacteria/microbes/viruses grow/spread/multiply bacteria/microbes live/thrive in/on something bacteria/microbes/viruses evolve/colonize something/cause disease bacteria break something down/convert something (into something) a virus enters/invades something/the body a virus mutates/evolves/replicates (itself) be infected with/contaminated with/exposed to a new strain of a virus/drug-resistant bacteria contain/carry/harbor bacteria/a virus kill/destroy/eliminate harmful/deadly bacteria compare vegetable
  4. 4a person who behaves in a cruel or unpleasant way, or who is very dirty The person who did this is an animal, a brute.
  5. 5 a particular type of person, thing, organization, etc. She's not a political animal. The government which followed the election was a very different animal. see also higher animals, party animal
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: animal