- a doglike carnivore of the family Hyaenidae, of Africa, southwestern Asia, and south central Asia, having a coarse coat, a sloping back, and large teeth and feeding chiefly on carrion, often in packs.
Origin of hyena
- any of several long-legged carnivorous doglike mammals of the genera Hyaena and Crocuta, such as C. crocuta (spotted or laughing hyena), of Africa and S Asia: family Hyaenidae, order Carnivora (carnivores)See also strandwolf
Word Origin and History for hyenic
mid-14c., from Old French hiene, from Latin hyaena, from Greek hyaina "swine" (fem.), from hys "pig" + fem. suffix -aina. So called for its bristles. Applied to cruel, treacherous, and greedy persons since at least 1670s. Adjectival forms that have been attempted in English include hyenaish, hyenaesque, hyenic, hyenine.