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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from lycanthropy

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

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.

Examples of lycanthropy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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, "Revisiting ‘Fantasy Island’: What to Watch," 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, "Here Are the Must-Stream Movies of August 2017," 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lycanthropy

Time Traveler for lycanthropy

Time Traveler

The first known use of lycanthropy was in 1594

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about lycanthropy

Statistics for lycanthropy

Cite this Entry

“Lycanthropy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on lycanthropy Encyclopedia article about lycanthropy

Comments on lycanthropy

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!