- Gulf of, a wide bay of the Mediterranean off the coast of S France.
- a large, usually tawny-yellow cat, Panthera leo, native to Africa and southern Asia, having a tufted tail and, in the male, a large mane.
- any of various related large wildcats, as the cougar.
- a man of great strength, courage, etc.
- a person of great importance, influence, charm, etc., who is much admired as a celebrity: a literary lion.
- the lion as the national emblem of Great Britain.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy, Astrology. the constellation or sign of Leo.
- (initial capital letter) a member of any one of the internationally affiliated service clubs (International Association of Lions Clubs) founded in 1917 and dedicated to promoting responsible citizenship, sound government, and community, national, and international welfare.
- a silver, Anglo-Gallic denier, issued during the reign of Henry III, bearing the figure of a lion.
- a gold coin of Scotland, issued c1400–1589, bearing the figure of a lion.
- any of various other coins bearing the figure of a lion.
- British. an object of interest or note.
- beard the lion in its den, to confront or attack someone, especially a powerful or feared person, in that person's own familiar surroundings.
- twist the lion's tail, to tax the patience of or provoke a person, group, nation, or government, especially that of Great Britain.
Origin of lion
Examples from the Web for lions
Somehow this guy survives, alternately running into the nearby water and charging at the lions.Cumberbatch Impressions, Dad Sings ‘Blackbird’ to Dying Son, and More Viral Videos
The Daily Beast Video
November 16, 2014
This video, shot in Zambia, shows a young elephant being attacked by a pride of 14 lions.Young Elephant Takes on 14 Lions and Survives!
Alex Chancey, The Daily Beast Video
November 13, 2014
Lie Down with Lions (1985) gave a shoutout to gays in a laundry list of human rights to worry about.Popular Novelist Ken Follett Is a Slightly Unlikely and Certainly Unsung Gay Icon
October 1, 2014
It took heated irons to move the lions away from Massarti in the cage.Thrills and Too Many Spills: The Dangers of the Circus
May 5, 2014
So to recap: You know those two lions that were frisky enough to have lion sex and give birth to lions?At the Copenhagen Zoo, Humans Can Be Animals
March 28, 2014
"The lions have found that rhino," remarked Kingozi indifferently.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
On one of these daggers we see five hunters fighting three lions.
This triangle they filled with a thinner stone carved with two lions.
I knew there was a big menagerie there, Cross's Zoo, and that I should find some lions for sale.
I had not found any lions, but I was delighted all the same.
- Gulf of Lions a wide bay of the Mediterranean off the S coast of France, between the Spanish border and ToulonFrench name: Golfe du Lion (ɡɔlf dy ljɔ̃)
- the Lion the constellation Leo, the fifth sign of the zodiac
- a large gregarious predatory feline mammal, Panthera leo, of open country in parts of Africa and India, having a tawny yellow coat and, in the male, a shaggy maneRelated adjective: leonine
- a conventionalized lion, the principal beast used as an emblem in heraldry. It has become the national emblem of Great Britain
- a courageous, strong, or bellicose person
- a celebrity or idol who attracts much publicity and a large following
- beard the lion in his den to approach a feared or influential person, esp in order to ask a favour
- the lion's share the largest portion
Word Origin and History for lions
late 12c., from Old French lion "lion," figuratively "hero," from Latin leonem (nominative leo) "lion; the constellation leo," from Greek leon (genitive leontos), from a non-Indo-European language, perhaps Semitic (cf. Hebrew labhi "lion," plural lebaim; Egyptian labai, lawai "lioness").
A general Germanic borrowing from Latin (cf. Old English leo, Anglian lea; Old Frisian lawa; Middle Dutch leuwe, Dutch leeuw; Old High German lewo, German Löwe); it is found in most European languages, often via Germanic (cf. Old Church Slavonic livu, Polish lew, Czech lev, Old Irish leon, Welsh llew). Used figuratively from c.1200 in an approving sense, "one who is fiercely brave," and a disapproving one, "tyrannical leader, greedy devourer." Lion's share "the greatest portion" is attested from 1701.
Idioms and Phrases with lions
In addition to the idiom beginning with lion
, also see
- beard the lion
- throw to the wolves (lions)