lion

[ lahy-uh n ]
/ ˈlaɪ ən /
|

noun


Nearby words

  1. liny,
  2. linyu,
  3. linz,
  4. linzer torte,
  5. linzertorte,
  6. lion's share,
  7. lion-hearted,
  8. lioncel,
  9. lionel,
  10. lioness

Idioms

    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

before 900; Middle English < Old French, variant of leon < Latin leōn- (stem of leō) < Greek léōn; replacing Middle English, Old English lēo < Latin, as above

Related formsli·on·esque, adjectiveli·on·like, li·on·ly, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for twist the lion's tail

Lion

/ (ˈlaɪən) /

noun

the Lion the constellation Leo, the fifth sign of the zodiac

lion

/ (ˈlaɪən) /

noun

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 for lion

Old English līo, lēo (Middle English lioun, from Anglo-French liun), both from Latin leo, Greek leōn

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

Word Origin and History for twist the lion's tail

lion

n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with twist the lion's tail

lion

In addition to the idiom beginning with lion

, also see

  • beard the lion
  • throw to the wolves (lions)

.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.