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animal - definition and synonyms

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noun [countable]     animal pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    biology any living thing that can move independently and that has senses for recognizing and reacting to the environment around it. Animals are divided into two groups, vertebrates and invertebrates
    1. a.
      any living thing that is not a human, a plant, an insect, a bird, or a fish

      lions, tigers, and other wild animals

      He is accused of cruelty to animals.

  2. 2
    informal someone who behaves in a very violent, cruel, or rude way

    That man is an animal!

  3. 3
    informal used when you are talking about the particular type of person someone is, for example what they enjoy doing

    I know how to deal with James, but Michael is a different animal.

    a political/social animal

    See also party animal


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

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Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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