noun, often attributive \ˈwlf\

: a large wild animal that is similar to a dog and that often hunts in groups

plural wolves \ˈwlvz\

Full Definition of WOLF

plural also wolf
a :  any of several large predatory canids (genus Canis) that live and hunt in packs and resemble the related dogs; especially :  gray wolf — compare coyote, jackal
b :  the fur of a wolf
a (1) :  a fierce, rapacious, or destructive person (2) :  a man forward, direct, and zealous in amatory attentions to women
b :  dire poverty :  starvation <keep the wolf from the door>
c :  the maggot of a warble fly
[German; from the howling sound]
a (1) :  dissonance in some chords on organs, pianos, or other instruments with fixed tones tuned by unequal temperament
(2) :  an instance of such dissonance
b :  a harshness due to faulty vibration in various tones in a bowed instrument
wolf·like \ˈwlf-ˌlīk\ adjective
wolf in sheep's clothing
:  one who cloaks a hostile intention with a friendly manner

Examples of WOLF

  1. <she threatened to geld the wolf if he didn't stop making passes at her>
  2. <no sooner had the lottery winner's name been made public than the wolves with their investment schemes showed up on her doorstep>

Origin of WOLF

Middle English, from Old English wulf; akin to Old High German wolf wolf, Latin lupus, Greek lykos
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Mammals Terms

dormouse, dugong, gibbon, grimalkin, sable, stoat, ungulate, vole



: to eat (something) very quickly

Full Definition of WOLF

transitive verb
:  to eat greedily :  devour

Examples of WOLF

  1. <the way you wolf your food it's no wonder you have intestinal distress>

First Known Use of WOLF


Related to WOLF


biographical name \ˈvlf\

Definition of WOLF

Friedrich August 1759–1824 Ger. philologist


biographical name

Definition of WOLF

Hugo Philipp Jakob 1860–1903 Austrian composer


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of three extant species of canine. The gray, or timber, wolf (Canis lupus) is the ancestor of all domestic dogs. It once had the largest distribution of any mammal except human beings, but it is now found primarily in Canada, Alaska, the Balkans, and Russia. Wolves are intelligent and social. Their primary prey are deer, moose, and caribou, though they feed on many smaller animals as well. Because wolves have killed livestock, they have been persecuted by farmers and ranchers. A male gray wolf may be 7 ft (2 m) long and weigh up to 175 lb (80 kg); it is the largest living wild canid. Gray wolves live in hierarchical packs whose territories cover at least 38 sq mi (100 sq km) and hunt mostly at night. The much smaller red wolf (C. rufus), once widespread in the south-central U.S., has been bred in captivity and reintroduced. The Abyssinian wolf (C. simensis) of Ethiopia was formerly considered a jackal. See also dire wolf.


Next Word in the Dictionary: wolfachite
Previous Word in the Dictionary: woldsman
All Words Near: wolf

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up wolf? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).