werewolf

play
noun were·wolf \ˈwer-ˌwu̇lf, ˈwir-, ˈwər-\

Definition of werewolf

plural

werewolves

play play \ˈwer-ˌwu̇lvz, ˈwir-, ˈwər-\
  1. :  a person transformed into a wolf or capable of assuming a wolf's form

werewolf was our Word of the Day on 11/21/2010. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of werewolf from the Web

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.

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").

Origin and Etymology of werewolf

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


WEREWOLF Defined for English Language Learners

werewolf

play
noun

Definition of werewolf for English Language Learners

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


WEREWOLF Defined for Kids

werewolf

play
noun were·wolf \ˈwer-ˌwu̇lf, ˈwər-\

Definition of werewolf for Students

plural

werewolves

\-ˌwu̇lvz\
  1. :  a person in folklore who is changed or is able to change into a wolf

History for werewolf

The modern English word werewolf came from an Old English word werwulf that was formed from wer, “man,” and wulf, “wolf.”


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