[wair-woo lf, weer-, wur-]


or wer·wolf

[wair-woo lf, weer-, wur-]
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.

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

Examples from the Web for werwolf

Historical Examples of werwolf

  • Their friend the werwolf had spied them from afar, and was ready to come to their rescue.

  • And all the way the werwolf followed them, and saw that they never lacked for food.

  • Then the werwolf looked at his body, and, behold, he was a man again!

  • I am a werwolf, not by inheritance, but of my own free will.


    Elliott O'Donnell

  • Nor is this inconsistency only characteristic of the movements, actions, and shape of the werwolf.


    Elliott O'Donnell

British Dictionary definitions for werwolf


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

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 werwolf



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper