from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fabulous beast with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mythical beast having the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle.
  • n. A person who has just arrived from Europe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An Anglo-Indian name for a person just arrived from Europe.
  • n. A fabulous monster, half lion and half eagle. It is often represented in Grecian and Roman works of art.
  • n. A representation of this creature as an heraldic charge.
  • n. A species of large vulture (Gyps fulvus) found in the mountainous parts of Southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor; -- called also gripe, and grype. It is supposed to be the “eagle” of the Bible. The bearded griffin is the lammergeir.
  • n. An English early apple.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In mythology, an imaginary animal supposed to be generated between the lion and the eagle, and to combine the head, front, and wings of an eagle with the body and hind quarters of a lion.
  • n. In ornithology, a vulture of the genus Gyps; a griffin-vulture.
  • n. Figuratively, a vigilant or repellent guardian; one who stands in the way of free approach or intercourse: in England applied especially to a woman acting as a duenna.
  • n. In India and the East generally: A person not familiar with the customs or ways of the country; a new-comer; a novice; a greenhorn.
  • n. A racing pony or horse that runs for its first time. Also griff, in both uses.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. winged monster with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion


Middle English griffoun, from Old French griffon, from grif, from Latin grȳpus, grȳphus, variants of grȳps, grȳp-, from Greek grūps.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French griffon, from Latin gryphus, from Ancient Greek γρύψ (grups). (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Pea . . . . tear . . . . griffin. Peter Griffin"

    March 3, 2007