MEANS:Animals in General

ANIMALS:
In General:
animal, n. ("animal, n.". OED Online. September 2012. Oxford University Press. 10 October 2012 <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/273779?rskey=usXA4r&result=1&isAdvanced=false>.)
Etymology:  < Anglo-Norman and Middle French animal (French animal )
Pronunciation:  Brit. /ˈanᵻml/ , U.S. /ˈænəm(ə)l/
Forms:  ME animale, ME– animal, lME anymal, 15 anymall, 15–16 animall, 15–16 annimall, 16 annimale, 16–17 (18 U.S. regional) annimal.

1.
a. A living organism which feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and a nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli; any living creature, including man.Animals are generally distinguished from plants by being unable to synthesize organic molecules from inorganic ones, so that they have to feed on plants or on other animals. They are typically able to move about, though this ability is sometimes restricted to a particular stage in their life cycle. They are eucaryotic and lack rigid cell walls.

Animals constituted one of the three Linnaean kingdoms of natural objects, along with plants and minerals, and traditionally included protozoans. In current technical use animals are often defined as multicellular heterotrophs, and thus they now usually include sponges but exclude protozoans.

The great majority of animals are invertebrates, of which there are some thirty phyla; the vertebrates constitute but a single subphylum. or (in later use) thing.