were·​wolf | \ ˈwer-ˌwu̇lf How to pronounce werewolf (audio) , ˈwir- How to pronounce werewolf (audio) , ˈwər- How to pronounce werewolf (audio) \
plural werewolves\ ˈwer-​ˌwu̇lvz How to pronounce werewolves (audio) , ˈwir-​ How to pronounce werewolves (audio) , ˈwər-​ \

Definition of werewolf

: a person transformed into a wolf or capable of assuming a wolf's form

Keep scrolling for more

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 word for "werewolf" is "lycanthrope," which traces back through Latin to a Greek combination of "lyk-" (from lykos, meaning "wolf") and "anthropos" (meaning "man"). 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").

Examples of werewolf in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With the catastrophe of magical eruptions finally quelled, Gabrielle Dupres (Louriza Tronco) — now a werewolf sporting Midnight’s hide — wolfs outs and murders Alyssa in Order headquarters. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "What Does The Order Finale’s Lilith Twist Mean For Season 3?," 24 June 2020 Universal's werewolf shape-shifting creature of the night has appeared in multiple films over the years, notably in 1941's The Wolf Man (starring Lon Chaney Jr.) and 2010's The Wolfman (starring Benicio Del Toro). Nick Romano, EW.com, "The Invisible Man director in talks to helm Ryan Gosling in Wolfman," 8 July 2020 That means someone in the Order will likely become a werewolf in season 2 — all depending on whom Silverback chooses. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "These Are The 5 Twists You Need To Remember Before The Order Season 2," 18 June 2020 This way, Jack forgets about the Order and his ability to destroy the Order as a werewolf. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "These Are The 5 Twists You Need To Remember Before The Order Season 2," 18 June 2020 The left mouse button attacked in one form (a werewolf of sorts), the right mouse button in the other (a bear). Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Diablo 4 impressions: Soaking in dark atmosphere and feel-good combat," 9 Nov. 2019 There was an exquisite absurdity to its humor, and concealed beneath it a real appreciation for the hallmarks of this subgenre, from send-ups of vampires' sleeping habits to a memorable run-in with lethal werewolves. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to stream (and skip) on Netflix and Amazon Prime this weekend," 17 Apr. 2020 Zombies 2 has everything: Zombies, romance, cheerleading, and now, werewolves. Rachel Yang, EW.com, "It's zombies vs. werewolves in first official trailer for Zombies 2 on Disney Channel," 10 Jan. 2020 In the Legacies season 2 premiere, viewers got a glimpse at what Mystic Falls is like without Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell): Raf (Peyton Alex Smith) is stuck in werewolf form. Samantha Highfill, EW.com, "Legacies boss on what's next for Hope, Sebastian's arrival, and Freya's visit," 11 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of werewolf

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for werewolf

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about werewolf

Time Traveler for werewolf

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about werewolf

Statistics for werewolf

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Werewolf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/werewolf. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for werewolf


How to pronounce werewolf (audio) How to pronounce werewolf (audio) How to pronounce werewolf (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of werewolf

in stories : a person who sometimes changes into a wolf especially when the moon is full


were·​wolf | \ ˈwer-ˌwu̇lf How to pronounce werewolf (audio) , ˈwər- \
plural werewolves\ -​ˌwu̇lvz \

Kids Definition of werewolf

: a person in folklore who is changed or is able to change into a wolf

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on werewolf

Spanish Central: Translation of werewolf

Nglish: Translation of werewolf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about werewolf

Comments on werewolf

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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