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

Tourists looking for high-end safaris and migrating herds trailed by slavering lions were not drawn to its arid expanses. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 And a block east, at Fifth Avenue, still on 42nd Street, are the beloved marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, guarding the New York Public Library. Toby Zinman, Philly.com, "Broadway Beat: Here's a summer freebie in NYC for Philly theater buffs to check out," 10 July 2018 The film overflows with images of Africans looking amazing ― in (lion) furs, in raffia, in blinding gold. Amber Ferguson, chicagotribune.com, "Before Wakanda, there was Zamunda: Eddie Murphy's 'Coming to America' turns 30," 29 June 2018 The African lion, Panthera leo, plays a crucial role in the savanna ecosystem. Christopher Bendana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Uganda's pride: Lions test locals' patience," 27 June 2018 Zoo Boise also has two female lions, Mudiwa and Obadiah. Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "Zoo Boise has something to roar about. Male lion joins African plains exhibit," 25 June 2018 This by-now-obligatory dramatization of any Royal coupling opens with a flashback to Harry as a young boy, and an excursion to Africa after his mother's funeral, where he's dramatically confronted by a lion. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Harry & Meghan' gives 'A Royal Romance' requisite Lifetime movie," 13 May 2018 And the sarcophagus bears no name carved into the stone—just two lion heads. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient “comic strip” depicts the founding of a Roman city," 10 Oct. 2018 Hippos—massive semi-aquatic, vegetarian mammals found across sub-Saharan Africa—are actually among the most dangerous animals on earth, killing on average 500 people each year, twice that of lions, according to the BBC. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Tourist Killed by Hippo Near Kenya's Lake Naivasha," 13 Aug. 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

12 Feb 2019

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

Comments on lion

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