ly·​can·​thro·​py | \ lī-ˈkan(t)-thrə-pē How to pronounce lycanthropy (audio) \

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

Other Words from lycanthropy

lycanthropic \ ˌlī-​kən-​ˈthrä-​pik How to pronounce lycanthropy (audio) \ adjective

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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 anthrōpos, 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.

Examples of lycanthropy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Russell has a family history of lycanthropy — or the supernatural transformation of a human into a wolf — but uses his power for good, and is able to remain aware of his transformations. Ellise Shafer, Variety, 28 Aug. 2021 Created by Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, Scot Eaton and Benjamin Jackendoff, Gomez is described to be a descendant of the Native American tribe Hopi who has been cursed with lycanthropy, also through his lineage. Ellise Shafer, Variety, 28 Aug. 2021 The fantasies depicted were encyclopedic in their macabre scope, including murder, séances, ghost hunts, telekinesis, black magic, Nazis, lycanthropy and a visit by Jack the Ripper. Erik Piepenburg, New York Times, 14 Feb. 2020 Teen Wolf, Teen Wolf Too (August 1) High school is a tough time for any teenager, and made even tougher by lycanthropy (i.e. werewolf-dom), as both Michael J. Fox and Jason Bateman learn in these 1980s horror-comedies. Nick Schager, Esquire, 28 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lycanthropy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of lycanthropy

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lycanthropy

New Latin lycanthropia, from Greek lykanthrōpia, from lykanthrōpos werewolf, from lykos wolf + anthrōpos human being — more at wolf

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The first known use of lycanthropy was in 1594

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Cite this Entry

“Lycanthropy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for lycanthropy


ly·​can·​thro·​py | \ lī-ˈkan(t)-thrə-pē How to pronounce lycanthropy (audio) \
plural lycanthropies

Medical Definition of lycanthropy

: a delusion that one has become or has assumed the characteristics of a wolf

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