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

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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

But be quick before Cthulhu, werewolves, or the Boss Monster take over. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Add New Board Games to Your Collection With Amazon’s Deal of the Day," 29 July 2019 The game also contains battles against werewolves and death eaters (the series’ villains) when a player visits one of the game’s fortresses. Xavierharding, Fortune, "Harry Potter Wizards Unite Casts a Spell to Become 2019's Pokémon Go," 20 June 2019 Over the centuries, humans have blamed the moon for tides, fertility, werewolves and madness — mostly incorrectly. Korey Haynes, Discover Magazine, "Earth's Moon: The Basics of its Origin, Evolution and Exploration," 12 June 2019 Despite the monster-themed fashion, the nails weren't meant to be claw-like or creepy — that aesthetic was saved for the werewolf, zombie or skeleton gloves donned by some models. Lindsay Weinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Models Got Horror-Ready at Moschino's Spooky 2020 Fashion Show," 8 June 2019 Also, there was familiarity with the gumiho as an immortal paranormal creature that preys on man is similar to the Western mythology of the werewolf (also connected to the moon) and also the vampire. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Move Over, Vampires — There's A New Mythological Creature In YA Fiction & She Is Foxy," 25 June 2019 People from all over the world believe that when a full moon comes out, magical things will happen (hello, werewolves). Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "How to Create Your Own Full Moon Ritual, According to an Expert," 5 Mar. 2019 Oh, and then there's the whole fact that Nick also chained up his werewolf familiar Amalia. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "The Best Musical Moments from "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Part 2," 9 Apr. 2019 Michael Jackson does not transform into a werewolf. Aja Romano, Vox, "Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is the eternal Halloween bop — and so much more," 31 Oct. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for werewolf

Last Updated

4 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for werewolf

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on werewolf

Spanish Central: Translation of werewolf

Nglish: Translation of werewolf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about werewolf

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