- plural of wolf.
- any of several large carnivorous mammals of the genus Canis, of the dog family Canidae, especially C. lupus, usually hunting in packs, formerly common throughout the Northern Hemisphere but now chiefly restricted to the more unpopulated parts of its range.
- the fur of such an animal.
- any of various wolflike animals of different families, as the thylacine.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Lupus.
- the larva of any of various small insects infesting granaries.
- a cruelly rapacious person.
- Informal. a man who makes amorous advances to many women.
- the harsh discord heard in certain chords of keyboard instruments, especially the organ, when tuned on some system of unequal temperament.
- a chord or interval in which such a discord appears.
- (in bowed instruments) a discordant or false vibration in a string due to a defect in structure or adjustment of the instrument.
- to devour voraciously (often followed by down): He wolfed his food.
- to hunt for wolves.
- cry wolf, to give a false alarm: Is she really sick or is she just crying wolf?
- keep the wolf from the door, to avert poverty or starvation; provide sufficiently for: Their small inheritance kept the wolf from the door.
- throw to the wolves. throw(def 57).
- wolf in sheep's clothing, a person who conceals his or her evil intentions or character beneath an innocent exterior.
Origin of wolf
Related Wordsspy, hypocrite, renegade, deserter, conspirator, impostor, turncoat, informer, mutt, pooch, pup, Casanova, libertine, stud, rake, philanderer, lecher, gigolo, wolf, seducer
Examples from the Web for wolves
Smith, the current police chief, called Lee a “scapegoat” who was “thrown to the wolves” to satisfy political critics.Florida Cops on What Ferguson Can Learn From Trayvon
November 20, 2014
“Raised by Wolves” tells the story of a traumatic car-bombing in Dublin.U2 Generously Gives Us a Lousy Album, Sucks at the Corporate Teat
September 13, 2014
And so it is Asian British women who are flung to the wolves.How Britain Made James Foley's Killer
August 27, 2014
“The dynamic of pushing people further into these wilderness areas is almost like putting out meat for the wolves,” she says.How Mexico’s Cartels Are Behind the Border Kid Crisis
July 9, 2014
I did once see a pack of wolves try to bring down a bison at decade or so ago.American Wilderness Faces the Firing Squad
July 6, 2014
Women were like she wolves for greed when they had a brood of whelps.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
Wolves or watch-dogs, it was hard to say from which the sheep had most to fear.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
Down almost to our own day the depredations of wolves were frightful.The Roof of France
Why should a coyote, who is the least of all wolves, hunt for himself when he can find a man to follow?The Trail Book
Yes, they were wolves leaping at the throat of her father, and joying in the defeat of Lucretia.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
- the plural of wolf
- Friedrich August (ˈfriːdrɪç ˈauɡʊst). 1759–1824, German classical scholar, who suggested that the Homeric poems, esp the Iliad, are products of an oral tradition
- Hugo (ˈhuːɡo). 1860–1903, Austrian composer, esp of songs, including the Italienisches Liederbuch and the Spanisches Liederbuch
- (wʊlf) Howlin'. See Howlin' Wolf
- a predatory canine mammal, Canis lupus, which hunts in packs and was formerly widespread in North America and Eurasia but is now less commonSee also timber wolf Related adjective: lupine
- any of several similar and related canines, such as the red wolf and the coyote (prairie wolf)
- the fur of any such animal
- Tasmanian wolf another name for the thylacine
- a voracious, grabbing, or fiercely cruel person or thing
- informal a man who habitually tries to seduce women
- informal the destructive larva of any of various moths and beetles
- Also called: wolf note music
- an unpleasant sound produced in some notes played on the violin, cello, etc, owing to resonant vibrations of the belly
- an out-of-tune effect produced on keyboard instruments accommodated esp to the system of mean-tone temperamentSee temperament (def. 4)
- cry wolf to give a false alarm
- keep the wolf from the door to ward off starvation or privation
- lone wolf a person or animal who prefers to be alone
- throw to the wolves to abandon or deliver to destruction
- wolf in sheep's clothing a malicious person in a harmless or benevolent disguise
- (tr often foll by down) to gulp (down)
- (intr) to hunt wolves
Word Origin and History for wolves
Old English wulf, from Proto-Germanic *wulfaz (cf. Old Saxon wulf, Old Norse ulfr, Old Frisian, Dutch, Old High German, German wolf, Gothic wulfs), from PIE *wlqwos/*lukwos, from root *wlp-/*lup- (cf. Sanskrit vrkas, Avestan vehrka-; Albanian ulk; Old Church Slavonic vluku; Russian volcica; Lithuanian vilkas "wolf;" Old Persian Varkana- "Hyrcania," district southeast of the Caspian Sea, literally "wolf-land;" probably also Greek lykos, Latin lupus).
This manne can litle skyl ... to saue himself harmlesse from the perilous accidentes of this world, keping ye wulf from the doore (as they cal it). ["The Institution of a Gentleman," 1555]
Wolves as a symbol of lust are ancient, e.g. Roman slang lupa "whore," literally "she-wolf" (preserved in Spanish loba, Italian lupa, French louve). The equation of "wolf" and "prostitute, sexually voracious female" persisted into 12c., but by Elizabethan times wolves had become primarily symbolic of male lust. The specific use of wolf for "sexually aggressive male" first recorded 1847; wolf-whistle first attested 1952. The image of a wolf in sheep's skin is attested from c.1400. See here for a discussion of "wolf" in Indo-European history.
"eat like a wolf," 1862, from wolf (n.). Related: Wolfed; wolfing.
Idioms and Phrases with wolves
In addition to the idiom beginning with wolf
- wolf in sheep's clothing
- cry wolf
- keep the wolf from the door
- lone wolf