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

Signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is credited with saving America’s national animal — as well as the California condor, grizzly bear, northern gray wolf, and more. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "The Trump Administration's Changes to the Endangered Species Act Risks Pushing More Species to Extinction," 14 Aug. 2019 Coyotes, cougars and gray wolves were better able to adapt their diets by hunting small mammals or scavenge from carcasses when large prey disappeared. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Fossils in La Brea Tar Pits reveal why coyotes still exist, but not saber-toothed cats," 5 Aug. 2019 In the 1800s, wild gray wolves loped amid thick Oakland forests on their descendants’ future zoo grounds. Eduardo Medina,, "Gray wolf pups at Oakland Zoo symbolize revival for California-native species," 5 July 2019 The Detroit Zoo's beloved gray wolf, Wazi, has died. Dixita Limbachia, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Zoo's beloved gray wolf dies from cardiac arrest," 25 June 2019 Colorado used to be home to gray wolves before they were eradicated around 1940, according to CPW. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Gray wolf sighting confirmed in northern Colorado," 10 July 2019 Wealth beneath the wilderness The Boundary Waters hold a special place in American geography: More than a million acres of lakes and forests provide a rich habitat for thousands of species, including the gray wolf and Canada lynx. Steve Eder, New York Times, "A Plan to Mine the Minnesota Wilderness Hit a Dead End. Then Trump Became President.," 25 June 2019 Home to animals including Arctic foxes, polar bears, gray wolves, caribou, snow geese, and musk oxen, the Arctic tundra is changing in broad and somewhat unpredictable ways as global average temperatures rise. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, "Tundra threats, explained," 19 June 2019 Mexican wolves, a subspecies of the Western gray wolf, have faced a difficult road to recovery that has been complicated by politics, legal fights and conflicts involving livestock. Washington Post, "Pup fostering gives genetic boost to wild Mexican wolves," 18 June 2019

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

22 Aug 2019

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The first known use of gray wolf was in 1595

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not constant or steady

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