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

Bishop Moore returns the lion’s share of a squad that finished fifth in the 2A state tournament following its fourth straight region crown. Steve Gorches,, "Orlando area high school boys golf preview: Winter Park loaded," 20 Aug. 2019 That is what Khalifa did, and in her case, about $1,000 each is pretty typical, Helmy said, with the lion’s share of profits from subscriptions and ad revenue going to production companies. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "Mia Khalifa is among the world’s most-watched women. Yet the porn industry is keeping the profits.," 16 Aug. 2019 Only male attention can diffuse Olga’s competitive self-loathing, but Irina gets the lion’s share of that. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "A Millennial Reboot of Chekhov, and “Moulin Rouge!” on Broadway," 29 July 2019 My amazing wife, Nancy, has carried the lion’s share of parenting our two great children. Benjamin Wermund, Houston Chronicle, "Houston-area Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Olson won’t seek re-election in 2020," 25 July 2019 The lion’s share of the dues that were collected — $40 per paycheck for each worker — went to pay Matassa’s salary, Kennelly noted. Jason Meisner,, "Reputed 'made’ member of Chicago Outfit given 6 months in prison for embezzling from union," 22 July 2019 Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton, the three people who wrote the original, did the lion’s share of the work. N.b., The Economist, "“The Lion King” remake opts for style over substance," 19 July 2019 That was the lion’s share of the company’s total $44.3 billion in goodwill as of last fall. Michael Rapoport, WSJ, "Key Brands Pay Price of Kraft Heinz Cost-Cutting," 22 Feb. 2019 Others enjoy the cultural cachet of even knowing his name; the lion’s share of his 35 surviving films are extraordinarily difficult to track down. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Celebrate Yasujirō Ozu," 12 Dec. 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

27 Aug 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



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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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

What made you want to look up lion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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