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

Colorado was once home to gray wolves, but they were eradicated in the state with the last ones killed by about 1940, according to CPW. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Two reported wolf sightings in Colorado being investigated by state wildlife officials," 8 July 2019 The scientists first compared the facial anatomy of six domestic dogs, each representing a different breed, to that of four gray wolves (modern dogs’ closest living relatives) from two wild populations. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Domestication Made Dogs’ Facial Anatomy More Fetching to Humans," 17 June 2019 This article has been corrected to reflect that Eastern and red wolves were descendants rather than ancestors of gray wolves and coyotes. The Christian Science Monitor, "Corrections," 4 Mar. 2019 The Trump administration is moving to delist the gray wolf from Endangered Species Act protections in the Lower 48 states, setting the stage for another potential clash over environmental policies with green groups and Democrats in Congress. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Gray Wolves to Lose Endangered Species Protection Under Trump Administration Proposal," 6 Mar. 2019 The name comes from an Ojibwa word that means gray wolf, and a river that runs through town and alongside the trail still maintains the name. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Algoma is a day trip away along Lake Michigan," 12 July 2018 Many have cited the success of red wolf reintroduction as inspiration for creating programs for gray wolves in Wyoming and Arizona. Robbie George, National Geographic, "Rule to Allow Hunting Could Doom Rare Red Wolves," 29 June 2018 Even today, no animal in North America is at once more loved and reviled than Canis lupus, the gray wolf. New York Times, "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist?," 5 July 2018 Since gray wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota are protected under the Endangered Species Act, farmers are forbidden to shoot the predators that devour their livestock. Cori Petersen, WSJ, "Wolves Attack Wisconsin With Washington’s Help," 27 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near gray wolf

gray widgeon

gray wildcat

gray willow

gray wolf




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Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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The first known use of gray wolf was in 1595

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food or victuals

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