wolf

noun, often attributive
\ ˈwu̇lf How to pronounce wolf (audio) , nonstandard ˈwu̇f \
plural wolves\ ˈwu̇lvz How to pronounce wolf (audio) , nonstandard  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 Wolf (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 Wisconsin is the only state that mandates a wolf hunt when regulations allow. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, 2 Aug. 2021 The dog and wolf puppies displayed their communication skills by completing a food-finding task with a human partner. Grace Huckins, Wired, 30 July 2021 Studies need to be done to see if CWD survives the digestive tract of the wolf. Arkansas Online, 2 July 2021 These data support a hypothesis that wolf populations reshaped as the last ice age ended, with this wolf population dying out as the climate changed, possibly because of a change in prey and competition from other species. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, 12 July 2021 Sipping coffee at a Capitol Hill outdoor cafe recently, Bartel tells a story of an encounter with a wolf. Washington Post, 23 June 2021 Another Mexican with a passion for nature is conservation biologist Ximena Neri Barrios, who is helping to ensure the revival of Mexico's wolf population, once extinct in the wild. Andrew Wight, Forbes, 30 May 2021 The media and the Left frequently cry wolf about bigotry, but there should be no doubt about Fuentes. John Mccormack, National Review, 30 June 2021 But a detailed understanding of wolf and deer behavior would come from research that tracks the animals with collars, which was not a part of the new study, says University of Wyoming ecologist Matthew Kauffman to the Atlantic. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For the time being, project assistants buzz around with power tools and lots of questions, pausing occasionally to wolf down slices of pizza. Naomi Waxman, sun-sentinel.com, 14 July 2021 The letter also said there were cultural considerations that should be accounted for in a delisting, alluding to the opposition by some Native Americans to wolf hunting. Star Tribune, 19 Dec. 2020 Mexicano and my sisters and I would wolf it down whenever Mom made it. Anita L. Arambula, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Sep. 2020 Maestas said Catron County, New Mexico, long a holdout to wolf releases, has joined the conservation effort. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, 19 Mar. 2020 America is the world’s second-biggest meat market; the average American wolfs down more than 100kg a year. The Economist, 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, 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, 1 Jan. 2020 And yes, my stomach hurts after wolfing down the whole thing in a matter of minutes. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, 6 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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Dictionary Entries Near wolf

Wolds, The

wolf

Wolf

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Statistics for wolf

Last Updated

4 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wolf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wolf. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for wolf

wolf

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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