were·wolf | \ˈwer-ˌwu̇lf, ˈwir-, ˈwər- \
plural werewolves\ˈwer-ˌwu̇lvz, ˈwir-, ˈwər- \

Definition of werewolf 

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

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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

The focus is as scattered as Wayne’s wild werewolf brood, practically forgetting about Drac’s son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg) and beloved grandson, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), the second film’s center, in favor of continuous gags. Kimber Walsh, latimes.com, "Review: 'Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation' hits the open seas with its creature comforts intact," 12 July 2018 Beth Reekles: At the time, Twilight was quite popular, so all the really popular teen romance stories had vampires or werewolves. Chelsea Greenwood Lassman, Teen Vogue, ""The Kissing Booth" Author Beth Reekles on the Hit Netflix Movie and Why We Still Need Romantic Comedies," 22 June 2018 The best examples of both can be seen in the sequences dealing with the werewolf couple of Wayne ( Steve Buscemi ) and Wanda (Molly Shannon). Rick Bentley, chicagotribune.com, "'Hotel Transylvania 3' review: Monsters aboard the Love Boat," 12 July 2018 Comedy involving sympathetic werewolf, vampire, ancient Egyptian princess brought to life, lonely British Lord named Edgar, his new wife, her snooty maid and other macabre and madcap characters. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Things to do in Cincinnati this week: July 9-15," 9 July 2018 This bit of finger-wagging is roughly the equivalent of hiring a werewolf as the new HR coordinator and then getting really disappointed when employees start vanishing every full moon. Jay Willis, GQ, "Fox News CEO Asks That On-Air Talent Be Slightly Less Racist Monsters," 28 June 2018 There's some resistance, and there happens to be werewolves in it too. Mark Peters, Chicago Reader, "A comics legend teams up with Three Floyds to brew some beer-fueled superhero mayhem," 17 Apr. 2018 Dylan played Liam Dunbar, who entered the series as a new lacrosse player and then became a werewolf, courtesy of Scott (a.k.a. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "8 Things You Need to Know About “13 Reasons Why” Season 2 Star Samantha Logan," 16 May 2018 After working at Time magazine and Science Digest, Mr. Cohen began writing books — nearly all for children and teenagers — about ghosts, UFOs, the occult, ESP, vampires, werewolves, conspiracies, cloning, weather and the human genome. Richard Sandomir, BostonGlobe.com, "Daniel Cohen, who sought justice for Pan Am bombing victims," 11 May 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

13 Oct 2018

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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, 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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a state of commotion or excitement

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