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[wair-woo lf, weer-, wur-] /ˈwɛərˌwʊlf, ˈwɪər-, ˈwɜr-/
noun, plural werwolves
[wair-woo lvz, weer-, wur-] /ˈwɛərˌwʊlvz, ˈwɪər-, ˈwɜr-/ (Show IPA)


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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for werwolf
Historical Examples
  • It survives in the Greek transformation stories and in the werwolf and swan maiden of the European popular creed.

  • Their friend the werwolf had spied them from afar, and was ready to come to their rescue.

  • "I believe he is a twentieth century werwolf, as Dorothy said," Ethel Brown insisted.

    Ethel Morton's Enterprise Mabell S.C. Smith
  • To accuse the lady, who was rich and influential, of being a werwolf would be useless.

    Werwolves Elliott O'Donnell
  • Bonivon now saw for the first time the face of his conductor—it was that of a werwolf.

    Werwolves Elliott O'Donnell
  • As far as I know, once a werwolf always a werwolf is an inviolable rule.

    Werwolves Elliott O'Donnell
  • And you know the werwolf is all of a white colorand so hu-u-uge!

  • How he had battled hand to claw with the werwolf and received no hurt.

    The Promise James B. Hendryx
  • Then at twelve o'clock the werwolf is seized, securely bound, and taken to an isolated spot.

    Werwolves Elliott O'Donnell
  • The one who is the werwolf, said Charlie, and he tried to laugh.

British Dictionary definitions for werwolf


/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 werwolf



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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