Definition for AN'I-MAL

AN'I-MAL, n. [L. animal, from anima, air, breath, soul; Gaelic anam, breath. The W. has envil, en, a being, soul, spirit, and mil, a beast; Arm. aneval; San. an, animi. Qu. Dan. aande, Sw. anda, breath.]

An organized body, endowed with life and the power of voluntary motion; a living, sensitive, locomotive body; as man is an intelligent animal. Animals are essentially distinguished from plants by the property of sensation. The contractile property of some plants, as the Mimosa, has the appearance of the effect of sensation, but it may be merely the effect of irritability. The distinction here made between animals and vegetables, may not be philosophically accurate; for we can not perhaps ascertain the precise limit between the two kinds of beings, but this is sufficiently correct for common practical purposes. The history of animals is called zoology. By way of contempt, a dull person is called a stupid animal.

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