- 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
Examples from the Web for hyena
That night he slipped through the dark, like a hyena pup, to Ringwood.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
Look at the case of the "Hyena," as he was called in his prime.Ridgeway
The third is found at the point called the Plateau of Hyena.
Then there were loud guffaws, and oaths, and cries like the cry of the hyena.The Scapegoat
One heard from the depths of the jungle the tittering of a hyena.Sacrifice
Stephen French Whitman
- 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 hyena
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.