aard·​wolf ˈärd-ˌwu̇lf How to pronounce aardwolf (audio)
plural aardwolves ˈärd-ˌwu̇lvz How to pronounce aardwolf (audio)
: a maned striped nocturnal mammal (Proteles cristatus) of southern and eastern Africa that resembles the related hyenas and feeds chiefly on insects and especially termites

Illustration of aardwolf

Illustration of aardwolf

Examples of aardwolf in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The edge of the ancient lakebed is inundated with meerkats, Cape hares, aardwolves, hyenas, and cheetahs, to name but a small cross section of species. Brad Japhe, Travel + Leisure, 6 June 2023 Most significantly leopards, but also serval and caracal cats, aardvarks and aardwolves, as well as many smaller mammals and much of the bird and reptile life that had previously vanished. Joe Yogerst, CNN, 9 Mar. 2023 These included the aardwolf, Canadian otter, spectacled bear, raccoon, and red wolf. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 13 Mar. 2012 The conservation union’s hyena specialist group is currently conducting the largest global survey of the four species of hyena — spotted, striped, brown and the aardwolf — since the 1990s. Helen Sullivan, New York Times, 30 Oct. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aardwolf.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from early Afrikaans, from aarde "earth" + wolf "wolf"; akin to Old English eorthe "earth" and to Old English wulf "wolf" — more at earth entry 1, wolf entry 1

Note: Regarding early Afrikaans aarde, see note at aardvark. The modern Afrikaans name for the animal is maanhaarjakkal.

First Known Use

1833, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aardwolf was in 1833

Dictionary Entries Near aardwolf

Cite this Entry

“Aardwolf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aardwolf. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

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