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

Some view the company as hypocritical for burdening taxpayers with the lion’s share of the cleanup bill, given the family’s reputation as fiscal conservatives and critical of government spending. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Cleanups at Pence family's failed gas stations costing taxpayers millions: report," 14 July 2018 Gelsinger will have to raid VMWare’s coffers to pay a special dividend, the lion’s share of which will got to Dell and be used for the tracking stock buyout. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—Why VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger May Be the Big Winner in Dell's Reorg," 3 July 2018 But in recent decades, one diet has attracted the lion’s share of research dollars and public attention: the Mediterranean way of eating. Julia Belluz, Vox, "This Mediterranean diet study was hugely impactful. The science just fell apart.," 20 June 2018 Education Department staff wanted to create more categories to sort the allegations made by former Corinthian College students, who constituted the lion’s share of applications. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, Washington Post, "Trump administration undermined student debt relief unit while claims mounted, watchdog finds," 14 June 2018 Egypt has received the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters under decades-old agreements seen by other Nile basin nations as unfair. Samy Magdy, The Seattle Times, "PM says Ethiopia will not cut Egypt’s share of Nile waters," 10 June 2018 Across society, the lion’s share of caring responsibility—whether for children or elderly relatives—still falls on women. Jo Swinson, Time, "Women Now Outnumber Men in Spain's Cabinet. What's Holding Them Back Elsewhere?," 8 June 2018 Tacos impress Tacos comprise the lion’s share of the menu, set on flavorful tortillas made of Pima corn or not-as-flavorful tortillas made with spent grain from the brewery. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Helio Basin Brewing Co. brings Arizona cuisine to Phoenix brewery, but fascinating menu feels out of place," 6 June 2018 Her husband, Dann Witczak, took over the lion’s share of the duties of their art installation business so that Spencer could take care of Kenan full time. Patricia Callahan,, "7-year-old Kenan, who helped spark a lifesaving change in state procedures, dies from Krabbe disease," 1 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

8 Oct 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



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


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 Encyclopedia article about lion

Comments on lion

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not any or not one

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