grif·​fin | \ ˈgri-fən How to pronounce griffin (audio) \
variants: or griffon or less commonly

Definition of griffin

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a mythical animal typically having the head, forepart, and wings of an eagle and the body, hind legs, and tail of a lion


biographical name
Grif·​fin | \ ˈgri-fən How to pronounce Griffin (audio) \

Definition of Griffin (Entry 2 of 3)

Walter Burley 1876–1937 American architect


geographical name
Grif·​fin | \ ˈgri-fən How to pronounce Griffin (audio) \

Definition of Griffin (Entry 3 of 3)

city south-southeast of Atlanta in west central Georgia population 23,643

Illustration of griffin

Illustration of griffin


In the meaning defined above

Examples of griffin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Historian Adrienne Mayor argues that the Asian dinosaur Proceratops may have inspired myths of the griffin. Manuel Balce Ceneta, National Geographic, "Who can replace RBG?," 21 Sep. 2020 Bacteria had eaten away at the iron artifacts onboard, but wooden artifacts, including the masthead of a griffin-dog chimera holding a person’s head in its mouth, remained intact. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Well-Preserved Atlantic Sturgeon Found in 15th-Century Danish Shipwreck," 8 Sep. 2020 Rows of griffins and what look like monkey faces with wings line the building, each grouping framed by a stoic crowned face. San Antonio Express-News, "The Gargoyles Guarding S.A.," 28 Mar. 2020 Plenty of other fascinating wild beasts—both real (tigers, antelopes, pelicans) and imaginary (griffins, dragons, bonnacons)—run rampant through the galleries. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "‘Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World’ Review: Wondrous Records of Animal Lore," 15 June 2019 Instagram-ready three-dimensional models — including a dragon, a griffin, a unicorn and a winged horse — are stationed throughout the gallery. Deborah Martin,, "Witte Museum’s big fall show features mermaids, dragons, unicorns," 27 Sep. 2019 The clergy and royal courts in days of yore used images of griffins, hellmouths, harpies, dragons and sea swine to instill fear, to divide anxious populations, to assert dominance and control, and to ostracize non-Europeans. Steven Litt,, "‘Medieval Monsters’ exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art surveys images used to inspire fear, hatred and wonder," 1 Sep. 2019 Choose from a dragon, a monkey, a cat, an owl or a griffin. Emily Sabens, Indianapolis Star, "13 cool, cute and downright interesting things you can buy at Gen Con 2019," 2 Aug. 2019 Bestiaries extolled the glory of the Christian G od through the application of vivid splendor to his creation, whether proved to be real like a lion and pelican or believed to exist in a far-off realm like the griffin and unicorn. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Unicorns are just one of the wild rides in the Getty’s marvelous ‘Book of Beasts’," 23 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'griffin.' 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 griffin


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for griffin


Middle English griffon, from Anglo-French grif, griffun, from Latin gryphus, from Greek gryp-, gryps

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Time Traveler for griffin

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The first known use of griffin was in the 14th century

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Statistics for griffin

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Griffin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for griffin


How to pronounce Griffin (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of griffin

in stories : an animal that is half eagle and half lion


variants: or griffon also gryphon \ ˈgri-​fən \

Kids Definition of griffin

: an imaginary animal that is half eagle and half lion

More from Merriam-Webster on griffin

Britannica English: Translation of griffin for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about griffin

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