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Main Entry: 1an·i·mal
Etymology: from Latin animal "living being that can move," derived from animalis "animate," from anima "soul, breath" --related to ANIMATE --see Word History at ANIMATE 1: any of a kingdom of living things composed of many cells typically differing from plants in capacity for active movement, in rapid response to stimulation, in being unable to carry on photosynthesis, and in lack of cellulose cell walls 2 a: one of the lower animals as distinguished from human beings b: MAMMAL Word History Latin anima means "breath" or "soul," and animalis, the adjective that comes from it, means "having breath or soul." An animal such as a cat or dog can be seen to breathe. Plants breathe too, by taking in certain gases from the atmosphere and releasing others. However, this process cannot be observed by the naked eye. So the noun animal, which comes from animalis, was borrowed from Latin for that group of living beings that breathe visibly.