beast mode n.

in a video game: a (temporary) state in which a human transforms into an animal or mythical creature, typically having extra power or skills; (hence) a (temporary) state of aggression or great performance

Sometimes associated with the 1988 Sega arcade game Altered Beast, although the original literature for that game refers to this ability as a ‘Special Force’. Popularized by the animated television series Beast Wars: Transformers (1996–9), in which the robot characters initiate the process of transforming into the form of a wild animal by vocalizing the command ‘Beast mode!’.


  • 1991–92 Cracked (Super #5) Winter 57 page image

    I’ve also got mutant healing power, a beast mode, and I’m the best at what I do.

  • 1996 Bubblegum Crisis: The Roleplaying Game 137 page image

    Transformation ability: Beast Mode for all-terrain ability, Humanoid for combat.

  • 1997 Beast Wars Transformers (instruction manual) 7 page image

    Transform into beast mode as soon as it is safe to do so. This helps to build up your Energon resistance. Resting in beast mode also builds up your Energon resistance.

  • 1998 Bloody Roar (Review) in PSM Jan. 59 page image

    Yugo takes a bite outta Alice. Hey, nobody said ‘Beast Mode’ was pretty!

  • 2003 C. Baxter Saul and Patsy xv. 230 page image Charles Baxter

    Near these pictures was a small poster of Wolverine, the superhero, the X-man, with his razor fingers, and another one of the same guy, in rage-against-the-world mode, beast mode.

  • 2004 Arcade Legends Sega Genesis (instruction manual) 1/3 page image

    Note [sc. for the game ‘Altered Beast’]: When the Centurion transforms into beast mode, the controls change to fit the beast’s special attacks.

  • 2015 R. Lewis I Feel Like Going On 49

    I could hear Coach Pool, off to the side, telling me, ‘Thirty seconds!’ I heard that and went into beast mode. I rushed this dude, picked him up—boom! Let him up, picked him up again—boom!

  • 2020 K. Winfield in Chicago Tribune iii. 2/1

    Aggressive is one thing; what Williamson did is another. He listened to his coach and teammates, went beast mode and Hulk-smashed the Spurs in the fourth quarter. He went on a personal 17–10 run—yes, Williamson scored 17 straight Pelicans points in a little more than three minutes.

Research requirements

antedating 1992

Research History
Suggested by Bill Mullins, who also supplied the 1991–2 "Cracked" quote and several others.

Added to OED in 2021, with a first quote from 1995.

Last modified 2021-09-21 14:00:32
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.