lion

noun
li·​on | \ˈlī-ən \
plural lions

Definition of lion 

1a or plural lion : a large heavily built social cat (Panthera leo) of open or rocky areas chiefly of sub-Saharan Africa though once widely distributed throughout Africa and southern Asia that has a tawny body with a tufted tail and a shaggy blackish or dark brown mane in the male

b : any of several large wildcats especially : cougar sense 1

c capitalized : leo

2a : a person felt to resemble a lion (as in courage or ferocity)

b : a person of outstanding interest or importance a literary lion

3 capitalized [ Lions (club) ] : a member of a major national and international service club

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Other Words from lion

lionlike \ˈlī-​ən-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of lion in a Sentence

the roar of the lion He was a literary lion among the writers of his time.

Recent Examples on the Web

Wilderness Safaris’ Linkwasha is the epitome of safari luxury, and it’s in the best game area of the park: warring lion prides, packs of wild dogs, cheetahs, and herds of elephant and buffalo everywhere. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "The Best Places to Travel in 2019," 7 Dec. 2018 In fact, Leos love to sleep, and these lions require safe, nurturing environments to really let down their manes. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Leo Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018 What followed was nine long months spent cursing the lion's mane growing on top of my head. Lisa Peterson, Glamour, "I Grew Out My Hair for Months Before My Wedding. I Regret It.," 27 Sep. 2018 The heron is dead in an instant, and two other lions rush into the frame. Elaina Zachos, National Geographic, "Why This Zoo Lion Killed a Lost Water Bird," 28 June 2018 Large predators, such as lions, typically meander through their territory looking for prey. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "Night shift: Animals are retreating into the darkness out of fear of humans," 28 June 2018 By 1918, the company employed around 250 performers, from acrobats to equestriennes, clowns to lion tamers. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The Hammond Train Wreck of 1918 Killed Scores of Circus Performers," 22 June 2018 Farmers in Africa have used it to kill lions that eat livestock. Karin Brulliard And Dana Hedgpeth, baltimoresun.com, "Thirteen bald eagles were found dead in a field in Maryland. This is what killed them.," 20 June 2018 But her latest undertaking goes in another direction: literary lion. Lauren Mechling, Time, "Sarah Jessica Parker Is the Latest Celebrity to Start Her Own Book Imprint," 14 June 2018

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

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lion

Middle English lioun, from Anglo-French leun, lion, from Latin leon-, leo, from Greek leōn

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Statistics for lion

Last Updated

17 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lion

The first known use of lion was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for lion

lion

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lion

: a large wild cat that has golden brown fur and that lives mainly in Africa

: a very important, powerful, or successful person

lion

noun
li·​on | \ˈlī-ən \

Kids Definition of lion

: a large meat-eating animal of the cat family that has a brownish buff coat, a tufted tail, and in the male a shaggy mane and that lives in Africa and southern Asia

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More from Merriam-Webster on lion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lion

Spanish Central: Translation of lion

Nglish: Translation of lion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lion

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