noun \ˈlī-ən\

: a large wild cat that has golden brown fur and that lives mainly in Africa

: a very important, powerful, or successful person

plural lions

Full Definition of LION

a or plural lion :  a large heavily built social cat (Panthera leo) of open or rocky areas chiefly of sub-Saharan Africa though once widely distributed throughout Africa and southern Asia that has a tawny body with a tufted tail and a shaggy blackish or dark brown mane in the male
b :  any of several large wildcats; especially :  cougar 1
c capitalized :  leo
a :  a person felt to resemble a lion (as in courage or ferocity)
b :  a person of outstanding interest or importance <a literary lion>
capitalized [Lions (club)] :  a member of a major national and international service club
li·on·like \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of LION

  1. the roar of the lion
  2. He was a literary lion among the writers of his time.

Origin of LION

Middle English lioun, from Anglo-French leun, lion, from Latin leon-, leo, from Greek leōn
First Known Use: 12th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Male lion (Panthera leo).—R.I.M. Campbell/Bruce Coleman Ltd.

Large, powerfully built cat (Panthera leo), the proverbial “king of beasts.” It is now found mainly in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, though about two hundred constitute an Asiatic race living under strict protection in India. Lions inhabit grassy plains and open savanna. The male is 6–7 ft (1.8–2.1 m) long, excluding the 3-ft (1-m) tail, stands about 4 ft (1.2 m) high at the shoulder, and weighs 370–500 lbs (170–230 kg). The female, or lioness, is considerably smaller. The male's coat is usually buff yellow or orange-brown; lionesses are more consistently tawny or sandy. The male's outstanding characteristic is his mane. Lions are unique among cats in that they live in a group, or pride, often consisting of about 15 individuals. Lionesses are the chief hunters. They prey on animals of all sizes, including hippopotamuses, but prefer wildebeests, antelopes, and zebras. After eating, a lion may rest for a week.


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