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werewolf

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

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British Dictionary definitions for werewolves

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

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 werewolves

werewolf

n.

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

werewolves in Culture

werewolves

Legendary human beings who are magically transformed into wolves. Werewolves supposedly prowl at night, devouring babies and digging up corpses, and cannot be killed with ordinary weapons. They are particularly associated with the full moon.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.