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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — behemoth

Good evening, Netizens

March 13, 2013

Word of the Day

  • behemoth
  • audio pronunciation
  • \bih-HEE-muth\


: something of monstrous size, power, or appearance

The town has voted against letting the retail behemoth build a store on the proposed site.

"Interviews with an array of industry veterans … outline how Fairchild and the companies it spawned both developed the technologies and established the business and financial cultures that would eventually produce behemoths like Apple and Google." — From a television review by Mike Hale in The New York Times, February 5, 2013


The original "behemoth" was biblical; it designated a mysterious river-dwelling beast in the Book of Job. Based on that description, scholars have concluded that the biblical behemoth was probably inspired by a hippopotamus, but details about the creature's exact nature were vague. The word first passed from the Hebrew into Late Latin, where, according to English poet and monk John Lydgate, writing in 1430, it "playne expresse[d] a beast rude full of cursednesse." In English, "behemoth" was eventually applied more generally to anything large and powerful.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.