• synonyms


or wer·wolf

[wair-woo lf, weer-, wur-]
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noun, plural were·wolves [wair-woo lvz, weer-, wur-] /ˈwɛərˌwʊlvz, ˈwɪər-, ˈwɜr-/.
  1. (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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for werewolf

giant, devil, freak, behemoth, horror, demon, beast, villain, whale, dragon, savage, mutant, titan, ogre, colossus, brute, barbarian, abnormality, mammoth, hellion

Examples from the Web for werewolf

Contemporary Examples of werewolf

Historical Examples of werewolf

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

  • But how passing well doth he time his absence from the haunts of the werewolf.

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

  • 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


noun plural -wolves
  1. 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
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Word Origin for werewolf

Old English werewulf, from wer man + wulf wolf; 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

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper