wolf

noun, often attributive
\ ˈwu̇lf How to pronounce wolf (audio) , ÷ˈwu̇f \
plural wolves\ ˈwu̇lvz How to pronounce wolves (audio) , ÷ˈwu̇vz \

Definition of wolf

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 plural also wolf
a : any of several large predatory canids (genus Canis) that are active mostly at night, live and hunt in packs, and resemble the related dogs especially : gray wolf

Note: Wolves have long been viewed as threats to livestock and people resulting in significant worldwide declines in their numbers and range size due to persistent eradication efforts (as by hunting, trapping, and poisoning).

b : the fur of a wolf
2a(1) : a fierce, rapacious, or destructive person
(2) : a man forward, direct, and zealous in amatory attentions to women
b : dire poverty : starvation keep the wolf from the door
c : the maggot of a warble fly
3 [German; from the howling sound]
a(1) : dissonance in some chords on organs, pianos, or other instruments with fixed tones tuned by unequal temperament
(2) : an instance of such dissonance
b : a harshness due to faulty vibration in various tones in a bowed instrument
wolf in sheep's clothing
: one who cloaks a hostile intention with a friendly manner

wolf

verb
wolfed; wolfing; wolfs

Definition of wolf (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

: to eat greedily : devour

Wolf

biographical name (1)
\ ˈvȯlf How to pronounce Wolf (audio) \

Definition of Wolf (Entry 3 of 4)

Friedrich August 1759–1824 German philologist

Wolf

biographical name (2)

Definition of Wolf (Entry 4 of 4)

Hugo Philipp Jakob 1860–1903 Austrian composer

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Other Words from wolf

Noun

wolflike \ ˈwu̇lf-​ˌlīk How to pronounce wolflike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of wolf in a Sentence

Noun no sooner had the lottery winner's name been made public than the wolves with their investment schemes showed up on her doorstep Verb the way you wolf your food it's no wonder you have intestinal distress
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The fact that traces of wolf genetics don’t show up in the Greenland sled dogs’ genome suggests that either hybrids didn’t survive well, or that there was some reason humans did not breed them. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "Humans and dogs have been sledding together for nearly 10,000 years," 25 June 2020 Laiprasert pressed pause on the wolf and the fox, along with everything else. Carly Stern, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area tattoo shops hope clients will have skin in the game when they reopen," 30 June 2020 The mascot has since been retired in favor of an anthropomorphic wolf. Eric Levenson, CNN, "The Washington Redskins are reviewing their name. These other teams could be next," 6 July 2020 The scientists also compared the Zhokhov dog’s DNA with an even more ancient canid—a Siberian Pleistocene wolf that lived about 33,000 years ago. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "Humans and dogs have been sledding together for nearly 10,000 years," 25 June 2020 Some environmentalists say the agencies are not doing enough to aid wolf recovery. Erin Stone, azcentral, "20 Mexican gray wolf pups are released into the wild, aiding the species' recovery effort," 15 June 2020 The outskirts of the state capital are home to roughly half a dozen wolf packs. Brad Japhe, Travel + Leisure, "How to See Whales, Bears, Eagles and More Incredible Wildlife in Alaska," 14 June 2020 If the virus is the wolf, then the carbohydrates are the sheep’s clothing. Cynthia Dizikes, SFChronicle.com, "SARS antibodies block coronavirus infections, study shows," 11 June 2020 Clay's looking for Justin in the woods and sees a wolf in front of him. Martha Sorren, refinery29.com, "13 Reasons Why," 8 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Maestas said Catron County, New Mexico, long a holdout to wolf releases, has joined the conservation effort. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, "Mexican gray wolf population grows by 24% in the 2019 survey," 19 Mar. 2020 America is the world’s second-biggest meat market; the average American wolfs down more than 100kg a year. The Economist, "Africa’s beef with America Why African farmers struggle to export to the United States," 27 Feb. 2020 After wolfing down the food, Rojas said, the couple ordered 10 burritos to go before heading off to the flight back to Denver. Los Angeles Times, "Felix, Little Man and other beloved Los Angeles logos," 2 Jan. 2020 The aliens are still out there, of course, and probably getting pretty hungry, having wolfed down so much of Earth's population in the first film. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Start the new year right with terrifying trailer for A Quiet Place: Part II," 1 Jan. 2020 And yes, my stomach hurts after wolfing down the whole thing in a matter of minutes. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, "In the Age of Smash Burger Supremacy, the Office Burger Still Reigns," 6 Nov. 2019 In Netflix’s acclaimed new Martin Scorsese film The Irishman, vanished former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) is shown wolfing down ice cream sundaes on three occasions. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Al Pacino explains Hoffa’s ice cream fixation in The Irishman," 28 Nov. 2019 The campers wolfed down the food, stared into the fire for a few minutes, and stumbled to their tents. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "A Peculiarly Dutch Summer Rite: Children Let Loose in the Night Woods," 21 July 2019 But is there reality to this perception that liberals can’t stomach gluten, while conservatives can wolf it down without complaint? Trey Malone, The Conversation, "Gluten-sensitive liberals? Investigating the stereotype suggests food fads unite us all," 22 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wolf.' 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 wolf

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1862, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wolf

Noun

Middle English, from Old English wulf; akin to Old High German wolf wolf, Latin lupus, Greek lykos

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Time Traveler for wolf

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wolf

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wolf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wolf. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for wolf

wolf

noun
How to pronounce Wolf (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wolf

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large wild animal that is similar to a dog and that often hunts in groups

wolf

verb

English Language Learners Definition of wolf (Entry 2 of 2)

: to eat (something) very quickly

wolf

noun
\ ˈwu̇lf How to pronounce wolf (audio) \
plural wolves\ ˈwu̇lvz \

Kids Definition of wolf

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large bushy-tailed wild animal that resembles the related domestic dog, eats meat, and often lives and hunts in packs
2 : a crafty or fierce person

Other Words from wolf

wolfish \ ˈwu̇l-​fish \ adjective

wolf

verb
wolfed; wolfing

Kids Definition of wolf (Entry 2 of 2)

: to eat fast or greedily

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More from Merriam-Webster on wolf

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wolf

Spanish Central: Translation of wolf

Nglish: Translation of wolf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wolf for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wolf

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