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 The Idaho Department of Fish and Game, using remote cameras and other methods, reported in February that the wolf population has held steady at about 1,500 over the last two years. Keith Ridler, Star Tribune, "Bill to kill up to 90% of Idaho wolves signed by governor," 7 May 2021 Introduced to the state in 1995, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said in February that the wolf population has been around 1,500 the past two years. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, "Idaho lawmakers consider bill that would allow 90% of state's wolf population to be killed," 26 Apr. 2021 Supporters of the bills say bringing down the wolf population is essential. New York Times, "In Montana, Bears and Wolves Become Part of the Culture Wars," 28 Mar. 2021 The state's Senate has passed two bills that have a more direct goal of reducing the wolf population. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Montana considering series of new bills to expand trapping and killing of wolves and bears — and activists say it's "an outright war against wildlife"," 9 Mar. 2021 Despite the healthy wolf population in the state, the harvest goal of 200 wolves is not supposed to be met if the tribal hunters do not meet their harvest quota. Popular Science, "Wisconsin hunters have already killed more gray wolves than allowed," 1 Mar. 2021 The Department of Natural Resources originally planned a hunting season for November 2021, which would have given pups born in the spring a chance to grow while allowing the state to assess the wolf population. Tom Keer, Field & Stream, "“Should We Have Closed the Season Sooner? Yes.” Wisconsin DNR Faces Backlash After Wolf Hunting Season Ends in an Uproar," 1 Mar. 2021 Despite the healthy wolf population in the state, the harvest goal of 200 wolves is not supposed to be met if the tribal hunters do not meet their harvest quota. Alan Clemons, Outdoor Life, "Wisconsin Hunters Take 216 Wolves and Exceed Harvest Quota in Controversial Hunt That Closed After Just Three Days," 26 Feb. 2021 There is an alternate-reality Disney version of this movie where Robyn turns into a wolf at night and all the wolves sing her a song, or something like that. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, "Wolfwalkers Is Giving Kids a History Lesson on the Horrors of Colonialism," 18 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Q&A with Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen," 19 Dec. 2020 Mexicano and my sisters and I would wolf it down whenever Mom made it. Anita L. Arambula, San Diego Union-Tribune, "An elevated riff on traditional chile verde," 16 Sep. 2020 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

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

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wolf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wolf. Accessed 12 May. 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

Comments on wolf

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