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 (bĕs′chē-ĕr′ē, bēs′-)
n. pl. bes·ti·ar·ies
A book consisting of a collection of descriptions of real and fabulous animals, often including a moral or allegorical interpretation of each animal's behavior. Bestiaries were particularly popular in medieval Europe.

[Medieval Latin bēstiārium, from Latin bēstia, beast.]


n, pl -aries
(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a moralizing medieval collection of descriptions (and often illustrations) of real and mythical animals


(ˈbɛs tʃiˌɛr i, ˈbis-)

n., pl. -ar•ies.
a collection of moralizing tales about real and mythical animals.
[1615–25; < Medieval Latin bēstiārium, neuter of Latin bēstiārius. See beast, -ary]


a collection of fables, intended to teach a moral lesson, in which the characters are real or imaginary animals.
See also: Collections and Collecting
an allegorical or moralizing commentary based upon real or fabled animals, usually medieval and sometimes illustrated.
See also: Animals
an allegorical or moralizing commentary, usually medieval and sometimes illustrated, based upon real or fabled animals.
See also: Literature


 a medieval written book which collects together verse, prose, and illustrations of real and fabled animals—Wilkes.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.bestiary - a medieval book (usually illustrated) with allegorical and amusing descriptions of real and fabled animalsbestiary - a medieval book (usually illustrated) with allegorical and amusing descriptions of real and fabled animals
book - a written work or composition that has been published (printed on pages bound together); "I am reading a good book on economics"


[ˈbestɪərɪ] Nbestiario m


nBestiaire nt, → Bestiarium nt
References in periodicals archive ?
The repetition within the page mirrored the unsettling repetition of motifs across the various works on view, as in five watercolor bestiaries in which a rhinoceros head in the center of the page came in and out of focus against the profile of an ape and an exceptionally phallic platypus.
Some specific subjects include dogs in medieval Egyptian Sufi literature, bestiaries and the Bayeaux embroidery, the iconography of footrests on tomb monuments, dogs in Japanese handscrolls, and the dogs of God and the hounds of Hell in the later Middle Ages.
Images of demons and their animal components evolved, as artists repeatedly combined standard elements from bestiaries with borrowings from other artists.
Other sources for the often-enigmatic images are proverbs, classics such as Martial and Apuleius, Christian stoicism, bestiaries such as Edward Topsell's The Historie of Foure-footed Beastes, and continental emblem books.
Here, she argues against the tradition of scholarly criticism of medieval bestiaries that reads their representations purely as vehicles for Christian didacticism and moral allegory.
They have moved in herds on prehistoric cave walls, kept watch over temples and citadels, adorned the mosaic floors of ancient Greece and Rome, illuminated the pages of medieval bestiaries and been carved into Renaissance marble.
4) Compiled by monks, bestiaries found their way to all strata of medieval society, primarily through the preacher's exemplum, a standard component of the sermons of itinerant friars.
Rowling (the Harry Potter books) and Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), have created modern bestiaries to accompany their invented worlds.
Bestiaries are illustrated books of animals, some real and some mythological, which were used to provide moral messages
Latin bestiaries appeared before the High Middle Ages, and subsequently others were compiled in French and other Western European languages.
This, like medieval bestiaries, is an imaginative creation based, very loosely, on known creature qualities.
The book recaptures the spirit of the medieval bestiaries by jolting the reader out of common perceptions, with material on each animal arranged according to the classical elements of fire, earth, air, and water: animals that are strong and swift, slower-moving animals that live close to the ground, animals that live in trees and are good at climbing, and animals that live in or near water.