li·​on | \ ˈlī-ən How to pronounce lion (audio) \
plural lions

Definition of lion

1a or plural lion : a large heavily built social cat (Panthera leo) of open or rocky areas chiefly of sub-Saharan Africa though once widely distributed throughout Africa and southern Asia that has a tawny body with a tufted tail and a shaggy blackish or dark brown mane in the male
b : any of several large wildcats especially : cougar sense 1
c capitalized : leo
2a : a person felt to resemble a lion (as in courage or ferocity)
b : a person of outstanding interest or importance a literary lion
3 capitalized [Lions (club)] : a member of a major national and international service club

Other Words from lion

lionlike \ ˈlī-​ən-​ˌlīk How to pronounce lion (audio) \ adjective

Examples of lion in a Sentence

the roar of the lion He was a literary lion among the writers of his time.
Recent Examples on the Web The lion’s share of soldiers and airmen maintain military values. Dennis Wagner, USA TODAY, 26 Nov. 2021 In a flat first half, Indiana’s first five did the lion’s share of the Hoosiers’ best work. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Nov. 2021 Moorpark College donated more than $1 million to the renovation and two other large donors contributed to the cause, but a lion’s share of fundraising came from the zoo’s supporters and guests. Christian Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2021 Not really, because the lion’s share of my work was dealing with all the kids. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 4 Nov. 2021 The lion’s share of the credit went to Chad Pennington, who was cut loose when the New York Jets had the opportunity to bring Brett Favre aboard after that 2007 season. Steve Svekis,, 31 Oct. 2021 If the bill passes, the lion’s share of the money will go to state, local, and tribal governments, but current federal rules constrain cities from coming up with innovative solutions to the many crises of our times. Madeline Janis, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 The lion’s share of donations received by the nominee, Jason Miyares, came from the same Republican organization that helped gin up supporters to storm the Capitol on January 6 through robocalls. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 29 Oct. 2021 The lion’s share of small business owners don’t have much of a say. J.d. Crowe |, al, 22 Oct. 2021

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

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

History and Etymology for lion

Middle English lioun, from Anglo-French leun, lion, from Latin leon-, leo, from Greek leōn

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Time Traveler for lion

Time Traveler

The first known use of lion was in the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near lion



lion's beard

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Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for lion



English Language Learners Definition of lion

: a large wild cat that has golden brown fur and that lives mainly in Africa
: a very important, powerful, or successful person


li·​on | \ ˈlī-ən How to pronounce lion (audio) \

Kids Definition of lion

: a large meat-eating animal of the cat family that has a brownish buff coat, a tufted tail, and in the male a shaggy mane and that lives in Africa and southern Asia

More from Merriam-Webster on lion

Nglish: Translation of lion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lion for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lion


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