From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
Usage: When we use these words in a figurative sense, as applicable to human beings, we think of beasts as mere animals governed by animal appetite; and of brutes as being destitute of reason or moral feeling, and governed by unrestrained passion. Hence we speak of beastly appetites; beastly indulgences, etc.; and of brutal manners; brutal inhumanity; brutal ferocity. So, also, we say of a drunkard, that he first made himself a beast, and then treated his family like a brute.
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
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