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or werwolf

[wair-woo lf, weer-, wur-] /ˈwɛərˌwʊlf, ˈwɪər-, ˈwɜr-/
noun, plural werewolves
[wair-woo lvz, weer-, wur-] /ˈwɛərˌwʊlvz, ˈwɪər-, ˈwɜr-/ (Show IPA)
(in folklore and superstition) a human being who has changed into a wolf, or is capable of assuming the form of a wolf, while retaining human intelligence.
Origin of werewolf
before 1000; Middle English werwolf, Old English werwulf, equivalent to wer man (cognate with Gothic wair, Latin vir) + wulf wolf; cognate with Middle Dutch weerwolf, Old High German werwolf Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for werewolf
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But how passing well doth he time his absence from the haunts of the werewolf.

    Second Book of Tales

    Eugene Field
  • I dreamed I was the werewolf—do not shudder, dear love, for 't was only a dream.

    Second Book of Tales

    Eugene Field
  • But suddenly a mighty tumult arose, and there were cries of "The werewolf!"

    Second Book of Tales

    Eugene Field
  • werewolf and vampire knew, and the ebon-bodied demons that prowl by night.

    The Hour of the Dragon Robert E. Howard
  • Throckmorton, a werewolf who would defile her if she entered into any compact with him.

    The Fifth Queen Ford Madox Ford
British Dictionary definitions for werewolf


/ˈwɪəˌwʊlf; ˈwɛə-/
noun (pl) -wolves
a person fabled in folklore and superstition to have been changed into a wolf by being bewitched or said to be able to assume wolf form at will
Word Origin
Old English werewulf, from wer man + wulfwolf; related to Old High German werwolf, Middle Dutch weerwolf
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 werewolf

late Old English werewulf "person with the power to turn into a wolf," from wer "man" (see virile) + wulf (see wolf (n.); also see here for a short discussion of the mythology). Cf. Middle Dutch weerwolf, Old High German werwolf, Swedish varulf. In the ancient Persian calendar, the eighth month (October-November) was Varkazana-, literally "(Month of the) Wolf-Men."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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