gray wolf


Definition of gray wolf

: a large, broad-headed, wide-muzzled wolf (Canis lupus) that has a dense, heavy coat of usually light brown or brownish gray interspersed with black above and yellowish white below and that was formerly widely distributed throughout North America and Eurasia but is now greatly restricted to the more northerly parts of its range The only sizable gray wolf population south of Canada and Alaska continues to roam the forest-and-lake country of northern Minnesota.— Vic Banks

Note: The gray wolf has been considered a threat to livestock and people for hundreds of years and has been wiped out from most of its original range by hunting, trapping, and poisoning.

called also timber wolf

Illustration of gray wolf

Illustration of gray wolf

Examples of gray wolf in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1974, the gray wolf became one of the first species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Outdoor Life, "Colorado Voted to Reintroduce Gray Wolves. Here’s What You Need to Know," 11 Nov. 2020 Nationwide trapping, hunting and poisoning campaigns had pushed the gray wolf and many of its subspecies close to extinction. Anton L. Delgado, The Arizona Republic, "Gray wolves lose endangered species protections, but Mexican wolves keep status," 30 Oct. 2020 Some of them are refreshingly weird, from a referendum on the future of the gray wolf in Colorado to the decriminalization of magic mushrooms in Washington DC. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, "Americans are a step closer to enshrining the right to repair their own gadgets," 4 Nov. 2020 The Colorado effort, if successful, could fill a significant gap in the species' historical range, creating a bridge between the Northern Rockies gray wolves and a small Mexican gray wolf population in Arizona and New Mexico. Matthew Brown, Anchorage Daily News, "After wolves rebound across the US West, their future may be up to voters," 30 Oct. 2020 Heralded as one of the greatest success stories of the Endangered Species Act, the gray wolf will lose federal protections under a Trump administration decision announced Thursday. Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times, "Trump administration drops gray wolf from endangered species list," 29 Oct. 2020 In California, state law would continue to safeguard the gray wolf, but wildlife experts say this accomplishes only so much. Kurtis Alexander,, "Gray wolf likely to lose federal protection, raising doubt about storied predator’s future," 29 Oct. 2020 The gray wolf had previously been delisted in the Northern Rockies by an act of Congress, which recognized the successful reintroduction of wolves in the Yellowstone region that began in the mid-1990s. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Trump administration delists the gray wolf," 29 Oct. 2020 Sometime toward the end of the last ice age, a gray wolf gingerly approached a human encampment. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, "How dogs tracked their humans across the ancient world," 29 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gray wolf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gray wolf

1595, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of gray wolf was in 1595

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Statistics for gray wolf

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gray wolf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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