Definition of lycanthropy
1 : a delusion that one has become a wolf
2 : the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic
lycanthropicplay \ˌlī-kən-ˈthrä-pik\ adjective
lycanthropy was our Word of the Day on 10/31/2009. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
If you happen to be afflicted with lycanthropy, the full moon is apt to cause you an inordinate amount of distress. "Lycanthropy" can refer to either the delusional idea that one is a wolf or to the werewolf transformations that have been the stuff of superstitions for centuries. In some cultures, similar myths involve human transformation into other equally feared animals: hyenas and leopards in Africa, for example, and tigers in Asia. The word lycanthropy itself, however, comes from the Greek words lykos, meaning "wolf," and anthropos, meaning "human being." Werewolf myths are usually associated with the phases of the moon; the animal nature of the werewolf (or "lycanthrope") is typically thought to take over when the moon is full.
Origin and Etymology of lycanthropy
New Latin lycanthropia, from Greek lykanthrōpia, from lykanthrōpos werewolf, from lykos wolf + anthrōpos human being — more at wolf
First Known Use: 1594
Medical Definition of lycanthropy
: a delusion that one has become or has assumed the characteristics of a wolf
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