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[sur-ber-uh s] /ˈsɜr bər əs/
noun, plural Cerberuses, Cerberi
[sur-buh-rahy] /ˈsɜr bəˌraɪ/ (Show IPA),
for 2.
Also, Kerberos. Classical Mythology. a dog, usually represented as having three heads, that guarded the entrance of the infernal regions.
a formidable and often surly keeper or guard.
Related forms
[ser-beer-ee-uh n] /sərˈbɪər i ən/ (Show IPA),
Cerberic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Cerberus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Cerberus opened it, and a cry of joy ran through the prison.


    James Anthony Froude
  • Cerberus welcomed him with a 'St. Mary, I am glad to see thee.'


    James Anthony Froude
  • Troop-ships arrived, but the most welcome was the Cerberus, with the three major-generals.

    The Siege of Boston Allen French
  • Rosina rang the gate-bell, and the old braided Cerberus admitted them grumblingly.

    Olive in Italy Moray Dalton
  • You are not like Cerberus, three gentlemen at once, are you?

    Familiar Quotations John Bartlett
British Dictionary definitions for Cerberus


(Greek myth) a dog, usually represented as having three heads, that guarded the entrance to Hades
a sop to Cerberus, a bribe or something given to propitiate a potential source of danger or problems
Derived Forms
Cerberean (səˈbɪərɪən) adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Cerberus

"watch-dog guardian of Hades," late 14c., Latinized form of Greek Kerberos, of unknown origin, according to Klein perhaps cognate with Sanskrit karbarah, sabalah "spotted, speckled;" Sabalah was the name of one of the two dogs of Yama.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Cerberus in Culture
Cerberus [(sur-buh-ruhs)]

In classical mythology, the three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to Hades.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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