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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web A whole lot of wolf killing followed, and by the 1970s, Minnesota was pretty much the Lower 48's last haven for the gray wolf, or canis lupus. Star Tribune, 6 Mar. 2021 Montana wildlife commissioners on Friday moved to shut down gray wolf hunting in a portion of the state around Yellowstone National Park, amid mounting criticism over a record number of the animals shot or trapped after roaming across the park boundary this winter. Matthew Brown, ajc, 29 Jan. 2022 Gray wolves were removed from the federal Endangered Species list in January, allowing Fish and Wildlife to take over the management of their population, though a coalition of 70 groups filed a formal petition to re-list the gray wolf as an endangered species in the western United States. oregonlive, 24 Aug. 2021 During their first few years in L.A., Carucci adopted Larry, a German shepherd, malamute, gray wolf and chow mix. Julissa James, Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar. 2023 The show will also offer a range of presentations on a remarkable and often controversial Wisconsin wildlife recovery - the gray wolf. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 5 Mar. 2023 The Mexican wolf is the rarest subspecies of gray wolf found in North America, the release said. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 5 Mar. 2023 Perri adds that, because many dire wolf fossils are found with broken teeth, it’s believed that the animals relied on scavenging more than their distant gray wolf cousins. Connor Lynch, Discover Magazine, 14 Dec. 2022 The gray wolf, celebrated as one of the greatest conservation success stories in U.S. history, is expected to lose endangered species protections under orders by the Trump administration. Kurtis Alexander,, 29 Oct. 2020 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1595, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gray wolf was in 1595

Dictionary Entries Near gray wolf

Cite this Entry

“Gray wolf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition

gray wolf

: a large wolf of northern regions that is usually gray

called also timber wolf

More from Merriam-Webster on gray wolf

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