plural werewolves ˈwer-ˌwu̇lvz How to pronounce werewolf (audio) ˈwir- How to pronounce werewolf (audio)
: a person transformed into a wolf or capable of assuming a wolf's form

Did you know?

Though some doubts about the word's etymology still remain, werewolf probably comes from a prehistoric West Germanic compound whose constituent parts gave Old English wer ("man") and wulf ("wolf"). The word is related to Middle Dutch weerwulf and Old High German werwolf. Another rather obscure word for werewolf is lycanthrope, which traces back through Latin to a Greek combination of lyk- (from lykos, meaning "wolf") and anthrōpos (meaning "human being"). English also sometimes makes use of the French-derived word loup-garou, from Old French leu ("wolf") and garoul or garulf (a word of Germanic origin meaning "werewolf").

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web There’s Wednesday’s new roommate, Enid (Emma Myers), a peppy werewolf with multicolor claws and a school gossip vlog. Meg Walters, Glamour, 23 Nov. 2022 Scruton took that approach when designing the Nevermore Academy dorm room that Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) shares with Enid (Emma Myers), a werewolf with a love for the bright and whimsical. Selome Hailu, Variety, 23 Nov. 2022 In this beloved series, the supernatural twists — killing vampires, being a werewolf — became metaphors for all kinds of teen anxiety. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Oct. 2022 Lykoi cats are warm and loving companions with an almost werewolf-like appearance, according to DailyPaws. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 6 Sep. 2022 None of the monster hunters realizes that a werewolf is hiding among them. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 7 Oct. 2022 Clawdeen Wolf was born half-human, half-werewolf, but has always had to hide her wolf-side… until now. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 20 Sep. 2022 But all 10 mazes are all-new this year, with characters ranging from a lonely werewolf to a global musical superstar. Dewayne Bevil, Orlando Sentinel, 3 Sep. 2022 Wondering how exactly the 2010s TV series about a teenage werewolf is going to transition to a full-length movie? Christian Holub, EW.com, 20 July 2022 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Old English werwulf (akin to Old High German werwolf werewolf), from wer man + wulf wolf — more at virile, wolf

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of werewolf was before the 12th century


Dictionary Entries Near werewolf

Cite this Entry

“Werewolf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/werewolf. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

plural werewolves -ˌwu̇lvz How to pronounce werewolf (audio)
: a person changed or able to change into a wolf

More from Merriam-Webster on werewolf

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.