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monster, n., adv., and adj.

Brit. Hear pronunciation/ˈmɒnstə/
U.S. Hear pronunciation/ˈmɑnstər/
Forms:  Middle English mounstre, Middle English moustre, Middle English mowstre, Middle English–1500s monstre, Middle English–1500s monstur, Middle English– monster, 1500s monstor, 1500s–1600s mounster; Scottish pre-1700 monstar, pre-1700 monstir, pre-1700 monstor, pre-1700 monstour, pre-1700 monstoure, pre-1700 monstre, pre-1700 monstuire, pre-1700 monstur, pre-1700 monsture, pre-1700 monstwre, pre-1700 munsture, pre-1700 1700s– monster. (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Origin: A borrowing from French. Etymon: French monstre.
Etymology: < Anglo-Norman and Middle French monstre, moustre, French monstre (mid 12th cent. in Old French as mostre   in sense ‘prodigy, marvel’, first half of the 13th cent. in senses ‘disfigured person’ and ‘misshapen being’, c1223 in extended sense applied to a pagan, first half of the 18th cent. by antiphrasis denoting an extraordinarily attractive thing) < classical Latin mōnstrum   portent, prodigy, monstrous creature, wicked person, monstrous act, atrocity < the base of monēre   to warn (see moneo n.; for the formation compare perhaps lūstrum  lustrum n.). Compare Italian mostro, †monstro (1282), Spanish †mostro (c1250; compare Spanish monstruo ( < a post-classical Latin variant of classical Latin mōnstrum)), Portuguese monstro (1525 as mõstro).
 A. n.

 a. Originally: a mythical creature which is part animal and part human, or combines elements of two or more animal forms, and is frequently of great size and ferocious appearance. Later, more generally: any imaginary creature that is large, ugly, and frightening.The centaur, sphinx, and minotaur are examples of ‘monsters’ encountered by various mythical heroes; the griffin, wyvern, etc., are later heraldic forms.

c1375   G. Chaucer Monk's Tale 3302   Was neuere wight sith that this world bigan That slow so manye monstres as dide he [sc. Hercules].
a1393   J. Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) vii. 1145   A Monstre [sc. Sagittarius] with a bowe on honde: On whom that sondri sterres stonde.
c1430  (c1386)    G. Chaucer Legend Good Women 1928   This Mynos hadde a monstre, a wiked best.
▸ ?1440   tr. Palladius De re Rustica (Duke Humfrey) (1896) i. 935 (MED)   For eddris, spritis, monstris, thyng of drede, To make a smoke and stynk is good in dede.
1490   W. Caxton tr. Eneydos xv. 58   Wherof was made a monstre fulle terrible, that hath as many eyen in her hede..as she hathe fedders vpon her.
▸ ?a1513   W. Dunbar Poems (1998) I. 115   He sall ascend as ane horrible griphoun. Him meit sall in the air ane scho dragoun. Thir terribill monsturis sall togiddir thrist.
1567   Compend. Bk. Godly Songs (1897) 214   Thocht Hercules, for Exionie, A mychtie monster did subdew, Zit endit he in miserie.
1613   S. Purchas Pilgrimage 54   Annedotus a Monster (otherwhere like a fish, his head, feet and hands like a Man).
a1616   W. Shakespeare Tempest (1623) ii. ii. 65   This is some Monster of the Isle, with foure legs.  View more context for this quotation
1707   G. Farquhar Beaux Stratagem v. 65   I'm none of your Romantick Fools, that fight Gyants and Monsters for nothing.
1762   H. Walpole Vertue's Anecd. Painting I. v. 111   Those Grotesque monsters..with which the spouts..of ancient buildings are decorated.
1821   Ld. Byron Sardanapalus i. ii. 17   A sort of semi-glorious human monster.
1863   C. Kingsley Water-babies i. 8   Monsters who were in the habit of eating children.
1899   F. T. Bullen Way Navy 12   Like sentient monsters mad with unchainable energy.
1957   P. Moore Sci. & Fiction 45   He was no dabbler in fiction of the bug-eyed monster and ray-gun type.
1971   H. S. Kushner When Children ask about God ii. 33   Children..learn rapidly enough that the monsters and magical figures of the storybook and television cartoons belong to a world apart from the one they and their families inhabit.
1980   K. Crossley-Holland Norse Myths (1982) xvii. 96   She was a monster with nine hundred heads.
2000   Pop. Photogr. July 76/2   Want to know where Hollywood gets the inspiration for its outer space and sci-fi monsters?

c1375—2000(Hide quotations)


 b. In extended and figurative use.Formerly also in collocations like faultless monster, monster of perfection, indicating an astonishing or unnatural degree of excellence (cf. sense A. 2).

▸ ?a1439   J. Lydgate Fall of Princes (Bodl. 263) v. 2518 (MED)   This monstre in kynde [sc. ingratitude] doth the liht desteyne, Of eueri vertu dirketh the brihtnesse.
▸ ?a1513   W. Dunbar Poems (1998) I. 151   The fowll monstir Glutteny.
?1521   A. Barclay Bk. Codrus & Mynalcas sig. Cvjv   Ferefull is labour,..Dredfull of vysage, a monster vntreatable.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Othello (1622) iii. iii. 111   By heauen he ecchoes me. As if there were some monster in his thought: Too hideous to be shewne.
1667   J. Dryden Annus Mirabilis 1666 ccxviii. 55   Thinfant monster [sc. the fire of London], with devouring strong, Walk'd boldly upright with exalted head.
1682   Duke of Buckingham Ess. Poetry 235   Reject that vulgar error which appears So fair, of making perfect characters, There's no such thing in Nature, and you'l draw A faultless Monster which the world ne're saw.
1702   N. Rowe Tamerlane i. i. 96   Oh thou fell Monster, War.
1737   A. Pope Epist. of Horace ii. i. 2   The great Alcides, ev'ry Labour past, Had still this Monster [sc. Death] to subdue at last.
1825   E. Bulwer-Lytton Zicci i   The monster that lives and dies in a drop of water—carnivorous—insatiable.
1856   R. W. Emerson Eng. Traits x. 171   Engineers and firemen without number have been sacrificed in learning to tame and guide the monster [sc. steam].
1942   P. Larkin Let. July in Sel. Lett. (1992) 39   I can't bear it. I feel like crying. Life is a fanged monster, sonny, that lies in wait for you.
1974   A. Tyler Celestial Navigation vii. 197   Strange mechanical monsters standing alone in tangles of dry grass.
2000   R. Barger et al. Hell's Angel xiv. 243   That's when I decided I was going to beat this monster, the Big C.

?a1439—2000(Hide quotations)


2. Something extraordinary or unnatural; an amazing event or occurrence; a prodigy, a marvel. Obsolete.

c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) 2 Macc. v. 4   Alle men preyeden, the monstris [L. monstra] or wondres,..for to be togidre turned in to good.
?a1425  (c1380)    G. Chaucer tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. ii. pr. i. 17   Thilke merveylous monstre [L. prodigii], Fortune.
a1450  (c1412)    T. Hoccleve De Regimine Principum (Harl. 4866) (1897) 344   Was it not eek a moustre as in nature þat god I-bore was of a virgine?
a1500  (?c1440)    J. Lydgate Horse, Goose & Sheep (Lansd.) 599 in Minor Poems (1934) ii. 564 (MED)   It wer a monstre a-geyn natur..That a gret Mastyff shuld a Leoun bynde.
1533   J. Bellenden tr. Livy Hist. Rome (1903) II. iv. viii. 74   Is it nocht ane huge monstoure,..þat It [sc. the city] suld haue made him king.
1537   in T. Wright Three Chapters Lett. Suppression Monasteries (1843) 160   The vicar off Mendyllsham..hath..brought home hys woman and chyldern into hys vicarage. Thys acte by hym done is in thys countre a monster, and many do growge at it.
1558   J. Knox First Blast against Monstruous Regiment Women f. 19   He that iudgeth it a monstre in nature, that a woman shall exercise weapons.
1562   N. Winȝet Certain Tractates (1888) I. 44   Ingratitude and vtheris deuyllische monstres of vice.
1614   J. Budden tr. P. Ayrault Disc. Parents Honour 5   Contempt, impiety, murdering of parents, were therefore ordinary monsters among the Greekes.
1641   ‘Smectymnuus’ Vindic. Answer Hvmble Remonstr. vii. 91   That power, which was a stranger, and a monster to former times.
1702   Eng. Theophrastus 43   'Tis the rarity that makes the monster.
1710   Ld. Shaftesbury Soliloquy 183   Monsters and Monster-Lands were never more in request.

c1384—1710(Hide quotations)


 a. A malformed animal or plant; (Medicine) a fetus, neonate, or individual with a gross congenital malformation, usually of a degree incompatible with life. Cf. monstrosity n. 1a.Now rare in Medicine because of its pejorative associations.

a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 9846 (MED)   If þou fand..A barn..þat had thre fete and handes thre..Sli scap to se was na ferlik, Bot monstres moght man call þam like.
?a1425  (c1400)    Mandeville's Trav. (Titus C.xvi) (1919) 30 (MED)   A monstre [Fr. monstre] is a þing difformed aȝen kynde both of man or of best.
1481   W. Caxton tr. Myrrour of Worlde i. xiv. 44   Or it hath a membre lasse than he ought to haue,..and may be called therfor a monstre.
1556   in J. G. Nichols Chron. Grey Friars (1852) 57   A monstre, a calfe wyth ij. heddes, iiij. eres, iiij. eyne, viij. f[eete] and ij. taylles.
1607   E. Topsell Hist. Foure-footed Beastes 337   A horsse-keeper which broght..an infant or rather a monster which he had got vpon a Mare.
1631   B. Jonson Bartholmew Fayre iii. i. 13 in Wks. II   Then you met the man with the monsters, and I could not get you from him.
a1680   S. Butler Genuine Remains (1759) II. 72   His Parts are disproportionate to the whole, and like a Monster he has more of some, and less of others than he should have.
1717   Lady M. W. Montagu Let. 16 Jan. (1965) I. 294   The Princes keep favourite Dwarfs. The Emperour and Empresse have 2 of these little monsters.
1752   W. Smellie Treat. Midwifery I. 122   When two children are distinct, they are called twins; and monsters when they are joined together.
a1793   J. Hunter Ess. & Observ. (1861) I. 240   The vegetable kingdom abounds with monsters.
1840   E. A. Poe 1002nd Tale in Wks. (1864) I. 141   The term ‘monster’ is equally applicable to small abnormal things and to great.
1897   T. C. Allbutt et al. Syst. Med. IV. 528   It [sc. congenital absence of spleen] has been noted in monsters.
1968   Brit. Jrnl. Plastic Surg. 21 411   As the child was thought to be a mentally defective monster, unlikely to survive infancy, he was kept in the local hospital for 16 months.
1996   European Jrnl. Obstetr. & Gynecol. 65 245 (title)    An acardiac acephalic monster following in-utero anti-epileptic drug exposure.

a1400—1996(Hide quotations)


 b. In extended and figurative use.

1616   R. R. in T. Coryate Traveller for Eng. Wits 53   Tom Coryates Shooes hang by the Bels At Odcomb, where that Bel-Dam dwels who first produc't that monster.
1742   H. Fielding Joseph Andrews I. i. xiv. 98   Thou odious, deformed Monster! whom Priests have railed at, Philosophers despised, and Poets ridiculed.  View more context for this quotation
1837   R. W. Emerson Oration before Phi Beta Kappa Soc. 4   The state of society is one in which the members have suffered amputation from the trunk, and strut about so many walking monsters.
1873   M. Arnold Lit. & Dogma xii. 342   The non-Christian religions are not to the wise man mere monsters.
1916   E. Pound Let. 17 Nov. (1971) 99   That many-eared monster with no sense, the reading public.
1995   Esquire July 61/1   The press, the penis, and the iconic roles had created an ambisexual monster.

1616—1995(Hide quotations)


 a. A creature of huge size.In early use frequently: a sea monster (see sea monster n.).

c1450  (?c1425)    E. Hull tr. Seven Psalms (1995) 174   Ionas þe prophet..cryed to God so that..þe þyknes of þe body of þe mounstre neþer þe derke pryson of þe bowelys wher he lay myght not close hys preyer.
c1515   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) 167   I condempne thee to be .xxviii. yeres a monster in ye see.
a1522   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid (1957) ii. iv. 68   This fatale monstre [sc. the Trojan horse] clam our the wallis then.
1613   S. Purchas Pilgrimage 839   A great beast..(a Crocodile or some other monster).
1738   J. Wesley Coll. Psalms & Hymns (new ed.) cxlvii. vii   Monsters sporting on the Flood, In scaly Silver shine.
1841   J. Pedder Let. 20 Nov. in Nat. Hist. (1936) Feb. 172/1   After minute investigation..of the skeleton of the Missourium, I have been led to conclude that the animal was a monster of the Tortoise Tribe 32 feet long.
1842   Ld. Tennyson Lotos-eaters: Choric Song (rev. ed.) viii, in Poems (new ed.) I. 183   The wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
1894   R. Kipling Jungle Bk. 155   After weeks..of cautious driving of scattered elephants across the hills, the forty..wild monsters were driven into the last stockade.
1908   C. F. Holder Big Game at Sea xix. 288   The arapaima..the game fish of South American waters—a monster that attained a length of twelve feet.
1923   D. H. Lawrence Ladybird: Fox: Captain's Doll 245   The white cool monster was a Siberian steppe-dog.
1999   Angling Times 16 June 7/2   The monsters, many weighing well into double-figures, hoover up anglers' bait as it drops through the wooden platforms.

c1450—1999(Hide quotations)


 b. gen. Anything of vast or unwieldy proportions; an extraordinarily large example of something.

1759   O. Goldsmith Pres. State Polite Learning (Globe) 432/2   From these inauspicious combinations proceed those monsters of learning, the Trevoux, Encyclopédies, and Bibliothèques of the age.
1843   C. Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) xi. 133   Not to mention a great monster of a desk straddling over the middle of the floor.
1889   Harper's Mag. Aug. 333/1   At the foot of the tower the largest bell in the world stands on a granite pedestal—a monster of ample and pure lines.
1969   Evening Post (Wellington, N.Z.) 3 Apr. 16 (advt.)    Our fuel bills were monsters until we got the Batts. Batts in the attic cut fuel bills 40%.
1993   What Hi-Fi? Oct. 91 (caption)    The Yamaha RX-V470 offers a compact, understated alternative to some of the monsters in this test group.
2000   New Scientist 9 Sept. 25/1   Evidence is mounting that the first stars were monsters, hundreds of times the mass of the Sun.

1759—2000(Hide quotations)


 c. Mathematics. The largest known sporadic finite simple group (see quot. 1998). More fully monster group, monster simple group.The group represents the symmetries of a 196,883-dimensional geometrical object, and also of a particular variety of string theory.  baby monster n. the second-largest known sporadic finite simple group, discovered at the same time as the monster group.

1976   R. L. Griess in Proc. Conf. Finite Groups 113   We present some evidence for the existence of a simple group F, called the ‘monster’. It was discovered independently by Fischer and Thompson, and by the author.
1976   Math. Mag. 49 175   A certain section of M,..the ‘Baby MonsterB, is also a possible new simple group.
1980   Sci. Amer. May 68/1   The groups, known as F1 (or ‘the monster’) and J4, may be the last pieces in a jigsaw puzzle that has taken more than a century to put together.
1998   CAM: Cambr. Alumni Mag. Michaelmas Term 4/3   He has proved the so-called ‘moonshine conjectures’ of the ‘Monster Group’—whimsical labels for an abstract symmetrical snowflake that lives in 196,883-dimensional space.

1976—1998(Hide quotations)


 5. A person of repulsively unnatural character, or exhibiting such extreme cruelty or wickedness as to appear inhuman; a monstrous example of evil, a vice, etc.

▸ ?a1505   R. Henryson Orpheus & Eurydice 13 in Poems (1981) 132   A ryall renk for to be rusticate Is bot a monster in comparison, Had in despyte and foule derision.
1556   J. Heywood Spider & Flie liv. 22   Which deede: if we do, wheare are our like monsturs?
1608   W. Shakespeare King Lear ii. 94   He cannot be such a monster .  View more context for this quotation
1616   B. Jonson Every Man in his Humor (rev. ed.) iii. vi, in Wks. I. 42   And he to turne monster of ingratitude, and strike his lawfull host!
1642   D. Rogers Naaman 14   Open monsters and odious livers.
a1684   J. Evelyn Diary anno 1683 (1955) IV. 353   That monster of a man the L: Howard of Eskrick.
1707   I. Watts Hymns (1751) i. xxxix. 28   Should Nature change, And Mothers Monsters prove.
1713   J. Addison in Guardian 11 July 2/1   These Monsters of Inhumanity.
1783   J. O. Justamond tr. G. T. F. Raynal Philos. Hist. Europeans in Indies (new ed.) VI. 293   They were no sooner landed at Barbadoes, but the monster sold her who had saved his life.
1850   R. W. Emerson Montaigne in Representative Men iv. 150   The correspondence of Pope and Swift describes mankind around them as monsters.
1877   M. Oliphant Makers of Florence (ed. 2) xii. 297   Alexander VI was a monster of iniquity.
1887   C. Bowen tr. Virgil Æneid i, in tr. Virgil in Eng. Verse 87   Pygmalion, monster unrivalled in hellish deed.
1918   W. M. Kirkland Joys of being Woman vii. 69   He had a toothache, and non-fatal illnesses may make monsters of the meekest of us.
1964   E. Baker Fine Madness xxvii. 308   He was watching the monster who was now whipping the little girl with a piece of rope.
1987   Sunday Times 4 Oct. 34/2   Nor is it the case that minding your own business will make you a monster of uncharitable selfishness.
2000   Saga Mag. 6 Feb. 9/3   It was his first year in power in Uganda when he was already a tyrant but not yet a known monster.

?a1505—2000(Hide quotations)


 6. gen. An ugly or deformed person, animal, or thing.

1715   C. Molloy Perplex'd Couple iv. i. 53   And pray, Master, what am I? I think my Person is not so despisable that you need run after other Folks. I'm no Monster.
1726   J. Swift Gulliver II. iv. i. 162   I never beheld..so disagreeable an Animal... The ugly Monster, when he saw me, distorted several ways every Feature of his Visage.
1862   A. Trollope N. Amer. I. 248   An elevator is as ugly a monster as has been yet produced.
1891   O. Wilde Picture of Dorian Gray xi. 201   He felt a curious delight in the fact that Art, like Nature, has her monsters, things of bestial shape and with hideous voices.
1930   I. Low His Master's Voice xxi. 277   He had never considered himself a handsome man, at the zenith of his attractions, but neither had he thought himself a monster.
1994   Rolling Stone 2 June 76/1   The attractive Donna Murphy is costumed and made up to look homely but hardly hideous—she is no monster.

1715—1994(Hide quotations)


 7. Originally U.S. An extraordinarily good or remarkably successful person or thing.

1968   Rolling Stone 6 Apr. 13/1   Of course, man, she's a monster. She's like the best of that type of singer.
1975   Newsweek 24 Mar. 81   The Average White Band is an exciting group with the potential to be what the music business calls ‘monsters’, musically and commercially.
1984   J. Blumenthal Official Hollywood Handbk. 111   This picture is gonna be a monster, kid. A monster!
1989   Record Mirror 16 Dec. 6/1   Their soon to come debut single..could well be a New Year monster.
1992   D. Strawberry & A. Rust Darryl 126   I had a monster of a season at Jackson..home runs..and a whopping 97 RBIs.

1968—1992(Hide quotations)

B. adv.

  In the manner of a monster. Only as the first element in adjectival compounds, as †monster-eating, monster-neighing. Obsolete. rare.

1607   E. Topsell Hist. Foure-footed Beastes 261   Their..liuely vgly figure, represented in this monster-eating-beast.
1886   R. Kipling Departm. Ditties (1888) 82   An incarnation of the local God, Mounted upon a monster-neighing horse.

1607—1886(Hide quotations)

 C. adj. (Developed from the attributive and appositive use of the noun.)

 1. attributive. Of extraordinary size or extent; gigantic, huge. Cf. monstre adj. monster meeting: any of a number of mass public demonstrations held in Ireland from 1843 in support of Repeal of the Union with Britain, called by Daniel O'Connell (1775–1847).

1837   (title)    The elements—earth, air, fire water; or, The monster ballroom of 1837 (R.A.M. 15/5/1837).
1839   in Spirit Metrop. Conservative Press (1840) II. 152   This monster product of our time.
1843   Ann. Reg. 227   The assemblage of immense masses of people..denominated ‘Monster Meetings’.
1845   J. Lingard Hist. & Antiq. Anglo-Saxon Church (ed. 3) II. App. c. 376   In the old church..was a monster organ.
c1850   Highland Mary (title)    The voice of labour. A chant of the monster meetings.
1868   B. Disraeli Let. to Marquis Abercorn 8 June in Davey's Catal. (1895) 21   I have to receive this morning a monster deputation of your Excellency's subjects.
a1889   F. Blachford Mem. in Let. (1896) 113   The phrase ‘monster meeting’ was due to me. An immense balloon..had been popularly christened the ‘monster balloon’, and I applied the phrase contumeliously to one of O'Connell's immense..meetings.
1901   Oxf. Times 16 Mar. 4/2   This monster liner, will..be the biggest vessel afloat.
1930   Daily Express 6 Oct. 8/2   There will be a monster parade of National Guardsmen, and band music.
1952   ‘R. Crompton’ William & Tramp ii. 83   Their jaws never ceased to move rhythmically around a couple of Monster Humbugs.
1994   New Scientist 6 Aug. 28   Hunter has named his planned monster gun the Jules Verne Launcher.

1837—1994(Hide quotations)


 2. colloquial. Remarkably successful, hugely profitable; (also) outstanding, extraordinarily good.

1904   Mitchell (S. Dakota) Daily Republican 29 Aug.   After playing an engagement in Chicago the band will come to Mitchell in a special train... It will be a monster week for Mitchell.
1912   Sunday Times-Tribune (Waterloo, Iowa) 22 Sept. 2/5   New Plays, new specialties and new people will add to the big show's drawing power and the prospects for a monster week are bright.
1931   New Yorker 24 Jan. 48/2 (caption)    Daddy, what's a Second Monster Week?
1968   M. Bloomfield in Rolling Stone 6 Apr. 11/2   When I was around fifteen I was a monster rock guitar player.
1981   Penthouse Jan. 162   This stuff [sc. cocaine] is monster... This stuff is really monster.
1991   Sports Illustr. 3 June 46/3   Sierra enjoyed a monster 1989.., but slipped to .280, 16 and 96 last year.
1994   M.E.A.T. Sept. 9/2   Ur—the debut full-length from Vancouver act Salvador Dream—is just fuckin' monster!

1904—1994(Hide quotations)



 a. General attributive.

  monster-brood   n.

1730   J. Thomson Sophonisba i. iv. 14   The monster-brood to which this land gives birth.
1861   L. Shore Hannibal II. 257   A monster brood Trample and rend rich nature, mile on mile.
1903   L. W. King Babylonian Relig. & Mythol. iii. 104   Already in the time of Agum the legend of Tiāmat and her monster brood..had become absorbed into the ancient religious traditions of the land.
1925   J. B. Munn tr. Beowulf in H. A. Watt & J. B. Munn Ideas & Forms Eng. & Amer. Lit. i. 13/1   The unhappy creature had dwelt for a long time in the home of the monster-brood since the Creator had proscribed him.

1730—1925(Hide quotations)


  monster bulk   n.

1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis ix, in tr. Virgil Wks. 492   Down sunk the Monster-Bulk, and press'd the Ground.
1855   T. B. Read New Pastoral xix, in Poet. Wks. (1883) 134   A monster bulk, that..Shall fright the traveller with its ghostly shape.
1968   A. Norton Chron. Witch World 267   We struggled over the monster bulk of the dead thing.

1697—1968(Hide quotations)


  monster-land   n.

1710   Ld. Shaftesbury Soliloquy 183   Monsters and Monster-Lands were never more in request.
1987   Electronic OtherRealms (Electronic text) No. 12 (O.E.D. Archive) ii   Like King's It, the finale in monster land drags on too long, stalling the fast pace of the book.

1710—1987(Hide quotations)


monster-market   n. Obsolete

1638   F. Junius Painting of Ancients 43   A man may find them always upon the monster-market, where they stand and stare upon such maimed creatures.

1638—1638(Hide quotations)


  monster mask   n.

1942   Harvard Jrnl. Asiatic Stud. 7 88 (caption)    The stone door is beautifully carved with a monster mask in high relief.
1973   Genius of China 47/2   The t'ao-t'ieh, an evil-averting monster mask which pervades the later bronze-age art of central China.

1942—1973(Hide quotations)


monster-spite   n. Obsolete

1797   College: a Satire 26   How to mitigate their monster-spite.

1797—1797(Hide quotations)


monster-browed adj. Obsolete rare

1929   E. Blunden Near & Far 49   Though the full cloud Frowns monster-browed.

1929—1929(Hide quotations)


  monster-headed adj.

1621   R. Brathwait Times Curtaine Drawne sig. C8v   Then all approu'd it, and were well appaid; Where th' Monster-headed Vulgar ope'd her iawes.
1869   ‘M. Twain’ Innocents Abroad xx. 199   The more immediate scenery consisted of fields and farm-houses outside the car and a monster-headed dwarf and a moustached woman inside it.
1980   J. Simpson Viking World 7 (caption)    Monster-Headed Post Found in the ship at Oseberg, Norway.
2000   G. Kam Ramayana in Arts Asia (caption) v. 117   Sita weeps as Ravana carries her away on his monster-headed bird.

1621—2000(Hide quotations)

 b. Objective.

  monster-monger   n. now rare

1639   T. D. Bloodie Banquet ii. ii   Foule monster monger, who must live by that Which is thy owne destruction.
1765   J. Otis Vindic. Brit. Colonies Postscript 32   A strange gallimaufry this: but I am not answerable for it, or for any other of the exhibitions of a monster monger.
1823   E. Elliott Giaour 155   Two living wonders hath this wondering age, A monster-monger, and star-gazing sage.
1982   R. Hoopes Cain xv. 373   James M. Cain was indeed a monster-monger.

1639—1982(Hide quotations)


  monster-queller   n.

1593   T. Lodge Phillis sig. L1   Looke how fayre locked Iuno was affected, When she the monster-queller did behold.
1959   A. G. Brodeur Art of Beowulf 81   Outside the climate of mutual love.., Beowulf would be little more than the monster-queller and marvelous swimmer of folk-tale.

1593—1959(Hide quotations)


  monster-quelling   n.

1948   K. Malone in Eng. Stud. 29 167   Beowulf's mention of sea-monsters..takes us back to the swimming match with Breca, one detail of which is precisely this monster-quelling on the part of the hero.

1948—1948(Hide quotations)


  monster slayer   n.

1615   S. Rowlands Melancholie Knight 2   The Monster slayers, and the Gyant killers.
1992   Inter-tribal Amer. 77/2   Specific findings include the grave site of Manuelito..and a hiding place of Changing Woman (..the mother of the twin heroes, Born Water and Monster Slayer).

1615—1992(Hide quotations)


  monster-slaying   n.

1948   L. Spitzer Linguistics & Lit. Hist. iii. 95   We learn that Hippolyte has not, to his regret, equaled his father in his feats of monster-slaying.

1948—1948(Hide quotations)


  monster-tamer   n.

1593   M. Drayton Idea viii. sig. H4   A monster-tamers rare description.
1789   H. L. Piozzi Observ. Journey France I. 38   We looked on him with reverence as a monster-tamer of antiquity, Hercules or Cadmus; he had the skin of a beast wrapt round his middle, which confirmed the fancy.
1849   R. B. Brough & W. Brough Sphinx i. 8   You will also see the celebrated Mr. Oedipus, the monster-tamer.
1996   R. Falconer Orpheus Dis(re)membered i. 19   If Hercules simply was Christ, as Bude asserts, then Christ can also take the more exciting form of a heroic monster-tamer in Hades.
2012   J. Rioux Cat's Cradle Bk. 1: Golden Twine 46   I'm going to be a monster tamer, and nothing will stop me or scare me.

1593—2012(Hide quotations)


  monster-bearing adj.

1597   G. Markham tr. G. Pétau de Maulette Deuoreux f. 7v   Monster-bearing Mother, why didst thou long, Hauing done thy worst, yet to doe greater wrong?
1648   R. Fanshawe tr. B. Guarini Pastor Fido i. v. 9   The monster-bearing earth Did never teem such a prodigious birth.
1792   K. tr. Saxo Grammaticus Gram & Gro in R. Polwhele Poems Gentlemen Devonshire & Cornwall I. 108   One of the giant brood to wed, To press the monster-bearing bed, What madness would desire?
1873   J. Henry Aeneidea I. 448   ‘Monstriferi sinus’ is not the monster-bearing creeks or inlets, but the monster-bearing, sinuating waters, monster-bearing billows of the great deep.
1991   S. R. Lawhead Paradise War (2006) iii. 22   We were on the A82 approaching a village called Lochend. The narrow body of the famous monster-bearing lake itself lay a hundred yards off to the right.
2013   D. Ogden tr. Valerius Flaccus Argonautica §497 in Dragons, Serpents, & Slayers Classical & Early Christian Worlds xvii. 158   Neptune gave the signal from afar, and at once the monster-bearing gulf bellowed and the Sigean bane pushed high the waters of the strait.

1597—2013(Hide quotations)


  monster-breeding adj.

1581   J. Studley tr. Seneca Hippolytus iv, in T. Newton et al. tr. Seneca 10 Trag. f. 65   O Caitiue thou of womankinde for guilt that beares the bell, Whose..euill doth passingly excell, Thy Monster breeding Mothers fault.
1997   J. Lasdun Woman Police Officer in Elevator 68   Teratogenic (Lit: ‘monster-breeding’) PCBs and toxic Potions to suit every other taste Were found in a nearby Spring-fed pool.

1581—1997(Hide quotations)


  monster-killing adj. and n.

1596   R. Linche Dom Diego in Diella sig. D6   Of Ariadne, who with smalest lace, freed Monster-killing Theseus.
1738   S. Boyse Transl. & Poems 50   So stative Jove commands His Monster-killing Bow to mortal hands.
1966   Eng. Stud. 47 141   Digressions..thrown in by the poet..as the fair means by which an experienced teller of long stories overcomes the monotony of a series of monster-killings.

1596—1966(Hide quotations)


  monster-taming adj. and n.

1648   R. Fanshawe tr. B. Guarini Pastor Fido i. i. 155   That monster-taming King..Had never grown so valiant..If first the monster Love he had not tam'd.
1788   A. Hamilton in Federalist Papers xvi. 99   A project of this kind is less romantic than the monster-taming spirit, attributed to the fabulous heroes and demi-gods of antiquity.
1985   M. White (title)    Fear Busting & Monster Taming.
1995   J. Cech Angels & Wild Things 123   The title page shows Max at the peak of his monster-taming form, taking care of these creatures with dispatch.
2003   D. D. Gilmore Monsters 26 in S. Marzouk Egypt as Monster in Bk. of Ezekiel (2015) ii. 63   Such monsters as sphinxes bring forth the necessary heroes to defeat them, and because such heroes make civilization by the example of monster taming, without the former there would be no civilization at all.
2006   A. C. Yu tr. Cheng'en Wu Monkey & Monk iv. 62   In his hands he held six kinds of weapons: a monster-stabbing sword, a monster-cleaving scimitar, a monster-binding rope, a monster-taming club, [etc.].

1648—2006(Hide quotations)


  monster-teeming adj. poetic (now rare)

1717   S. Croxall in J. Dryden et al. tr. Ovid Metamorphoses viii. 260   From whose Monster-teeming Womb, the Earth Receiv'd, what much it mourn'd, a bi-form Birth [L. discordemque utero fetum tulit].
1820   P. B. Shelley Prometheus Unbound i. i. 41   Never yet there came Phantasms so foul thro' monster-teeming Hell.
1898   R. Nugent Mem. 126   From monster-teeming Nile Spring the worship'd Crocodile.
1936   C. J. Kraemer tr. Horace Compl. Wks. iv. xiv. 299   The monster-teeming seas that roar Round Britain's rock-bound shore.

1717—1936(Hide quotations)

 c. Instrumental.

  monster-guarded adj.

1594   1st Pt. Raigne Selimus sig. K2   Thou hast trode The monster-garded [printed monster-garden] paths, that lead to crownes.
2000   Re: Techs I've never Taken in alt.games.moo2 (Usenet newsgroup) 28 Apr.   If I lose a leader I'm usually going to restore a save, due to a hasty decision (exploring a monster guarded system with a leader equipped military fleet for instance).

1594—2000(Hide quotations)


  monster-spouted adj.

1942   E. Blunden Romantic Poetry & Fine Arts 17   Monster-spouted fountain.

1942—1942(Hide quotations)

 d. Appositive.

  monster-cloud   n.

1934   E. Blunden Mind's Eye 16   A sky of freakish monster-clouds.

1934—1934(Hide quotations)


  monster-crew   n.

1630   N. Richards World in Celestiall Publican sig. E8   Poesie Diuine, Basely neglected by the Monster Crew, Of Puff-Paste muddie Mindes.
a1777   F. Fawkes tr. Apollonius Rhodius Argonautics (1780) ii. 96   To different regions flew The maid celestial and the monster-crew.
1996   Re: Phys Reps & stealing Them in rec.games.frp.live-action (Usenet newsgroup) 13 Mar.   One of the monster crew (some poor soul) was asked to put it on and not stand with his back to anyone.

1630—1996(Hide quotations)


  monster god   n.

1716   A. Pope tr. Homer Iliad II. v. 954   To tame the Monster-God Minerva knows, And oft' afflicts his Brutal Breast with Woes.
1859   R. C. Singleton tr. Virgil Aeneid viii, in tr. Virgil Wks. II. 276   Monster gods of every breed, Barker Anubis, too, 'gainst Neptune..[ranged].
1995   M. Bartók & C. Ronan Anc. Egypt & Nubia 7 (caption)    Standing by in wait of the outcome was the monster god Amut.
2002   A. Waugh God §25. 34   Yam (the many-headed monster god of the waters, who is also the god of chaos).

1716—2002(Hide quotations)


  monster lord   n.

1655   H. L'Estrange Reign King Charles 119   In the same moneth..wherein this Monster-Lord [sc. Audley] was sentenced.
1809   S. J. Arnold Man & Wife (ed. 2) i. i. 2   Intelligence will afford me an opportunity to resume a character in life, which shall make this monster Lord tremble.
1979   P. Theroux Old Patagonian Express ix. 150   When the earthquakes came from the lake, which they knew by the disappearance of the fish, it was a sign that the monster lord of these regions who dwelt in the depths of the lake was eating the fish.
2009   T. E. Sniegoski Lobster Johnson: Satan Factory 195   He pulled free from the demon's grasp and stepped over the dying monster lord.

1655—2009(Hide quotations)


  monster-machine   n.

1970   G. Jackson Let. 4 Apr. in Soledad Brother (1971) 211   He was giving to us all of the life force and activity that the monster-machine had left to him.

1970—1970(Hide quotations)


  monster man   n.

1605   J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks. ii. i. 322   Which like the vaunting Monster-man of Gath, Haue stirr'd against vs little Dauids wrath.
1745   Agreeable Compan. 194   In Church, secure behind her Fan, She durst behold that Monster Man.
1873   A. Anderson Song of Labour 58   Till the monster-man of his midnight thought Took shape in the ghostly gloom.
1982   R. Boguslaw Syst. Analysis & Social Planning iv. 106   Some sort of gigantic monster-man who prowls the universe.
2007   C. Jordan Trapped 344   ‘Come on out, little pig,’ says the monster man.

1605—2007(Hide quotations)


monster paddock   n.  [ < paddock n.1 1.] Obsolete rare

a1640   P. Massinger & J. Fletcher Very Woman iii. i. 12 in P. Massinger 3 New Playes (1655)    A March Frog kept thy mother; Thou art but a monster Paddock.

a1640—a1640(Hide quotations)


  monster-people   n.

1680   T. Otway Hist. Caius Marius i. 2   The Monster-people roar'd aloud for Joy.
1998   Re: Greyhawk Slavery, Gladiators? in rec.games.frp.dnd (Usenet newsgroup) 6 Mar.   The Scarlet Brotherhood has slavery and monster-people breeding programs set up on their peninsula.

1680—1998(Hide quotations)


  monster film   n. = monster movie n.

1965   Amer. Q. 17 380   Cinematic and cultural history of ‘monster’ films, from archetypes..to neo-classics.
2000   Time Internat. (Electronic ed.) 1 May   These monster films proved that the Japanese..could also make fantasy creatures that were bigger, meaner, friendlier—and more moving.

1965—2000(Hide quotations)


  monster flick   n. colloquial = monster movie n.

1980   Washington Post 28 Dec. (Bk. World) 8   It is useful to possess an extensive listing of video sf, including all those really bad invasion and monster flicks of the '50s.
2000   Rocky Mountain News (Denver) (Electronic ed.) 22 Oct.   He writes to..the host of a TV program that runs old monster flicks.

1980—2000(Hide quotations)


monster-little-man   n. Obsolete rare an abnormally small person.

1607   E. Topsell Hist. Foure-footed Beastes 12   The most parte thought him to be some Monster-little-man.

1607—1607(Hide quotations)


monster-love   n. Obsolete rare a love likened to a deformity; a flawed love.

1633   J. Ford Broken Heart i. i. sig. B2   This thought Begets a kinde of Monster-loue.

1633—1633(Hide quotations)


  monster-master   n.  (a) a person who defeats or masters monsters;  (b) a master who is a monster.

1605   J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks. ii. ii. 414   This monster-master stout, This Hercules..they tender.
1634   T. Herbert Relation Some Yeares Trauaile 5   Sharkes..are alwayes directed by a little specled fish, called a pilot fish, by guiding their Monster-masters to a prey.
1841   C. Dickens Barnaby Rudge vii. 274   It's wrung from me by the dreadful brutality of that monster master.
1889   Catholic World Sept. 805   Latour was the monster master from whose cruelties he had fled.
1999   J. T. Gold & J. Gold Monsters & Madonnas (rev. ed.) i. 6   Implied transformations generally involve a person or animal that becomes the slave or representative of its monster master, fulfilling the monster's purpose but not actually undergoing a metamorphosis itself.

1605—1999(Hide quotations)


  monster movie   n. a film having a monster as a major feature of the action.

1961   E. Goodman 50 Year Decline & Fall Hollywood 309   His first monster movie was The Dinosaur and the Missing Link, a prehistoric comedy which ran five minutes on the screen and took two months to make.
1973   Public Opinion Q. 37 299   It is plausible that violence in a play setting is not violence at all, but something that is..exciting, as in monster movies.
1999   New Yorker 2 June 91/1   ‘Jurassic Park’..was a kind of all-you-can-eat buffet of monster-movie clichés, one whopping hunk of red meat after another.

1961—1999(Hide quotations)


  monster truck   n. chiefly North American a very large truck, spec. a highly modified four-wheel drive vehicle with a standard-sized body and disproportionately large wheels and engine, used esp. for racing over obstacle courses.

1965   Industr. Bull. (N.Y. State Dept. of Labor) Dec. 2/1   When the operators of the Benson Mines..had finished putting together their first monster truck for hauling iron ore, they put it on display at the main gate on the highway.
1978   Washington Post (Nexis) 19 Jan.   He..had a house in the Maryland suburbs and a monster truck in the driveway that he didn't have the money to fix.
1984   Arkansas Democrat-Gaz. (Nexis) 26 Oct.   A three-day show of hot-rod truck-pulling and mud-racing championships... The show includes big-name hot rods and monster trucks.
1994   N.Y. Mag. 22 Aug. 30   Madison Square Garden hosts the biannual U.S. Hot Rod Motorsports Extravaganza, featuring tractor pulls and monster trucks.
2009   R. Wingard-Nelson Big Truck & Car Word Problems 40   Standing up, a monster truck tire is 66 inches tall.

1965—2009(Hide quotations)




monsterful adj. Obsolete rare marvellous, extraordinary.

c1460  (?c1400)    Tale of Beryn 2767 (MED)   These monstrefulle thingis, I devise to the, Be-cause þow shuldist nat of hem a-basshid be.

c1460—c1460(Hide quotations)


  ˈmonsterhood   n. the state or condition of being a monster.

1852   Fraser's Mag. 45 90   It was a Behemoth of puffs..standing alone in solitary monsterhood.
1995   E. A. Bohls Women Trav. Writers & Lang. Aesthetics viii. 243   Like Gulliver, he [sc. Frankenstein] undergoes a protracted identity crisis that moves him inexorably toward confronting his own monsterhood.
2015   R. Long in T. Prescott Neil Gaiman in 21st Cent. 124   The narrator connects monsterhood with..a focusing inwards of thought and emotion, to the exclusion of all others.

1852—2015(Hide quotations)