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

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

The house can be yours for $349,000 — a small price to pay for the chance to get caught in a vampire-werewolf love triangle of your very own. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Bella Swan's House in "Twilight" Is Being Sold for $349,000," 16 Aug. 2018 There are the witches, too, and werewolves made familiar by the mystery writer Tony Hillerman’s best sellers: malevolent spirits that old-time locals treat as a fact of life. Guy Trebay, Condé Nast Traveler, "In the Heart of Navajo Lands," 19 Oct. 2018 According to Robert Pattinson, your favorite band of vampires and werewolves may be getting back together. Zoë Weiner, Allure, "Robert Pattinson Says He's "Got the Botox Out" in the Event His Twilight Role Reprises," 11 Sep. 2018 For seven seasons, Skarsgård avoided the sun to attain Eric’s vampiric pallor and romped among werewolves, shape-shifters and other supernatural species on the show. Alex Bhattacharji, WSJ, "Alexander Skarsgård in His Element," 6 Sep. 2018 Getty ImagesGetty Images Buffy's Oz was a werewolf, making him maybe the most appropriate character to name a dog after. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Have Reportedly Named Their New Labrador Retriever Oz," 2 Sep. 2018 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

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

Listen to Our Podcast about werewolf

Dictionary Entries near werewolf








Statistics for werewolf

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for werewolf

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for werewolf



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

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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

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


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!