Definition of animal noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈænɪml//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈænɪml//
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  1. 1  a 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 see also companion animal
  2. 2  any living thing that is not a plant or a human the animal kingdom This product has not been tested on animals. CultureanimalsThe British and Americans are famous for being animal lovers, and many families have at least one pet. People from other countries often think British and American people are sentimental about animals, and say that they fuss over them and treat them better than human beings.At weekends people in Britain often visit farm parks, safari parks (= parks where people can drive close to lions, zebras etc.), zoos, bird parks and sea life centres. In the US there are zoos and aquaria (= large tanks of fish), which are educational, and also amusement parks with animals, like Busch Gardens and Disney's Animal Kingdom.Television programmes about animals are very popular. These range from factual programmes about wildlife to films starring fictional animals. Children are given cuddly toy animals and picture books about animals. Children's literature has created many famous animal characters, such as Black Beauty, Brer Rabbit, Pooh, and Ratty, Mole and Toad in The Wind in the Willows. Many animals in books have their own distinctive character: lions are typically brave, foxes are cunning and cats are proud.There are laws against cruelty to animals in Britain and the US. People give generously to animal charities such as the RSPCA and the ASPCA, and there are animal hospitals and rescue centres for injured and abandoned animals. Most of these, and most zoos are fairly modern, and many animals live in a large enclosure similar to their natural habitat, rather than in a cage. Often zoos keep only animals that cannot survive in the wild or were born in captivity. Some breed animals to put back into the wild and try to raise public awareness about the need for conservation.Many people care about wild animals. People feed wild birds in the winter and some have a bird table in the garden. In the US the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) helps people to create their own 'backyard wildlife habitat'.There are often campaigns to save species that are endangered (= that may become extinct), such as wolves and buffalo in the US, and red squirrels and hedgehogs in Britain. In rural areas people generally have much less romantic ideas about animals. In Britain hunting foxes with dogs arouses hostile feelings, especially among people living in towns, but the law to ban it, which came into effect in 2005, is seen by many people living in the country as an attack on their way of life. There is also a lot of discussion about whether the numbers of badgers, which are a type of wild animal living in the countryside, should be reduced. They are thought to pass on the disease tuberculosis to cows, and therefore many farmers are in favour of a reduction in their numbers. Other people feel that it is wrong to kill badgers and that other solutions to the problem should be found.In Britain and the US many people are concerned about animal rights, especially the use of animals in scientific research and public pressure has forced many cosmetics manufacturers to stop testing products on animals. Several groups, including the Animal Liberation Front and PETA, strongly oppose vivisection (= the use of live animals in experiments) and animal rights activists organize protests at laboratories where animals are used. Sometimes people who work or invest in companies that own the laboratories are threatened.Concern about farming methods in which animals are fattened as quickly as possible in artificial conditions causes many people to become vegetarians or to buy only meat that is from animals that have lived in good conditions.
  3. 3  any living creature, including humans Humans are the only animals to have developed speech. 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/​harbour (especially US English) 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. 5a particular type of person, thing, organization, etc. She's not a political animal. The government that followed the election was a very different animal.
  6. see also dumb animal
    Word OriginMiddle English: the noun from Latin animal, based on Latin animalis ‘having breath’ from anima, ‘breath’; the adjective via Old French from Latin animalis.Extra examples In court he was banned from keeping animals. Most cloned animals die at a premature age. She sleeps with lots of stuffed animals. The animals were fed only on pasture. This animal can be trained to follow simple orders. animals bred in captivity glass cases of stuffed animals pack animals such as mules protesting against animal experiments research with humans and non-human animals the export of live animals for slaughter the wonders of the animal kingdom Animal rights groups are staging a protest against the fur trade this Saturday. No animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture. These birds perform a ritual which is unique in the animal kingdom.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: animal