li·​on | \ ˈlī-ən How to pronounce lion (audio) \
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 How to pronounce lionlike (audio) \ 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 The unit, which includes DirecTV, has suffered the lion’s share of cord-cutting in recent years, prompting the company to explore a sale of the satellite business. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "AT&T Pinched by Cord-Cutting and Closed Theaters," 22 Oct. 2020 The plan, known internally as Project Unity, is expected to contribute the lion’s share to Sewing’s goal of cutting 1 billion euros of expenses in the German retail operations. Steven Arons,, "Deutsche Bank Plans to Sell Technology Unit With 1,400 Employees," 21 Oct. 2020 During the war, which lasted from 1980 to 1992, some 50,000 civilians were killed, with the lion’s share of atrocities committed by the military. Laura Weiss, The New Republic, "Confronting the Deep Roots of Violence in El Salvador," 21 Oct. 2020 Sure, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle get the lion’s share of the royal family’s press coverage these days. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Is Princess Anne Actually the Coolest Royal?," 20 Oct. 2020 The lion’s share of those donations went to Texas AG Ken Paxton, the lead plaintiff in Texas v. California, the lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, which will be heard by the Supreme Court Nov. 10. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "Will this be the most-watched FDA meeting ever?," 20 Oct. 2020 Moreno was correct that the lion’s share of dirt streets are in low-income neighborhoods south of Interstate 8, where community leaders have lacked the political clout to effectively lobby for infrastructure upgrades. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Paving 60 miles of dirt streets in poor neighborhoods would cost San Diego $300M to $900M," 15 Oct. 2020 The lion’s share of the bond is in Proposition A, which would renovate 36 schools for $1.21 billion. Alia Malik,, "Even with recession, San Antonio ISD says it needs no property tax increase to pay off largest-ever local bond," 9 Oct. 2020 While youngest Hill House daughter Nell had her lion’s share of tragedy, Pedretti forged an entirely different relationship with Dani’s baggage for Bly. Ariana Romero,, "Victoria Pedretti Doesn’t Want You To Come To Bly Manor Looking For Nell Crain," 9 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for lion

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for lion

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for lion


How to pronounce lion (audio)

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 How to pronounce lion (audio) \

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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