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 Skip to main content From werewolf syndrome to black hairy tongue, these are just some of the oddest medical conditions. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Sudden foreign accent, 'werewolf' hair growth: Yes, these odd medical conditions are real," 29 Aug. 2019 The Blue Dog series was based on the French-Cajun loup-garou legend of a werewolf-like canine that prowls cemeteries and cane fields at night, haunting naughty children. Jamie Swinnerton, Houston Chronicle, "Wilkerson Intermediate students celebrate art of George Rodrigue," 16 Sep. 2019 Bhasin told police and doctors that Jackson, a stranger, began turning into a werewolf during their encounter. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, "Man who thought he killed werewolf in Alexandria pleads not guilty by reason of insanity," 1 July 2019 Peyton Alex Smith is joining the cast as a young werewolf who attends school alongside Hope. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Here are the Latest Details About "The Originals" Spinoff "Legacies"," 8 Aug. 2018 The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below: Sports, puberty and werewolves merge in plotform in Teen Wolf, this week's high-concept offering. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Teen Wolf': THR's 1985 Review," 23 Aug. 2019 Just ask the actress who made a name for herself in movies involving a love triangle involving a human, a vampire and a werewolf more questions about scary ghosts. Cicero Estrella, The Mercury News, "Kristen Stewart says she has conversations with ghosts," 6 Aug. 2019 Monsters live here, but the monsters are taking part in Halloween themselves; Cooke notes that a werewolf may be dressed as another creature or character, and a vampire-like figure will live in a mini castle. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, "Griffith Park’s Haunted Hayride is going totally ‘80s to compete with theme park scares," 2 Aug. 2019 From catching werewolves to unearthing treasures from a sinking island to Lovecraftian horror stories, these games aren’t the Milton-Bradley staples of your childhood. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Add New Board Games to Your Collection With Amazon’s Deal of the Day," 29 July 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.

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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

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for werewolf

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

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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

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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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