American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several carnivorous mammals of the family Hyaenidae of Africa and Asia, which feed as scavengers and have powerful jaws, relatively short hind limbs, and coarse hair.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A carnivorous quadruped of the genus Hyæna or family Hyænidæ. There are several kinds of hyenas. The common striped or laughing hyena, Canis hyæna or Hyæna striata, known to the ancients as a wild beast of Libya, has long been celebrated for the great size and strength of its neck and jaws, its formidable teeth, its prowling nocturnal habits, its singular voice, and its propensity for robbing graves. It has a wide geographical distribution, including most of Africa and much of Asia, as Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, and India. It is an unsightly animal of ferocious aspect, of the size of a large dog, with shaggy pelage bristling over the shoulders, a short bushy tail, large eyes and ears, thick blunt muzzle, and peculiar carriage, due to the low hind quarters, high shoulders, and long heavy neck. Its feet are digitigrade, with blunt non-retractile claws. Its color is brownish-gray, more or less distinctly and extensively banded or striped crosswise with black on the back, sides, and limbs. The animal is nocturnal, hiding by day in caves, and hunting by night in packs for its food, which is chiefly carrion, though it often preys upon living animals. It is not less cowardly than ravenous, but is capable of being tamed and even domesticated. The brown hyena, H. brunnea, inhabits southern Africa; it belongs to the same restricted genus as the striped hyena, but is mostly of a dark-brown color, banded only on the limbs, and the pelage is remarkably long and shaggy, growing to a length of 8 or 10 inches on the back and sides. The spotted hyena, H. crocuta or Crocuta maculata, is a more distinct species, generically different from either of the foregoing, inhabiting southern parts of Africa. As its name implies, it is spotted instead of striped; and it is rather smaller than H. striata, and has a less shaggy pelage. In this species the length of the neck, size of the head, shortness of the loins, and lowness of the hind quarters are specially notable. The cave-hyena, H. spelæus, is an extinct form closely related to the spotted hyena: its remains occur in caverns. There are also other fossils to which the name hyena has been applied, and the hyena-dog is called
- n. The pouched dog, the thylacine dasyure of Tasmania, Thylacinus cynocephalus: so called from its predaceous and carnivorous habits. See zebra-wolf.
- n. Also spelled hyæna.
- n. Large, canine‐resembling carnivore belonging to the family Hyaenidae, native to Africa and Asia, often notable for the sound similar to laughter which it can make if excited.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any carnivorous mammal of the family
Hyænidæ, doglike nocturnal mammals of Africa and southern Asia, of which three living species are known. They are large and strong, but cowardly. They feed chiefly on carrion, and are nocturnal in their habits.
- n. doglike nocturnal mammal of Africa and southern Asia that feeds chiefly on carrion
- Old French hiene, from Latin hyaena, from Ancient Greek ὕαινα (huaina), from ὗς (hūs, "swine, pig") and -αινα ("feminine suffix"), from Proto-Indo-European *sū (“swine”). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English hiena, from Old French hiene, from Latin hyaena, from Greek huaina, feminine of hūs, swine (from its bristly mane like a hog's). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Today, the hyena is the most common carnivore in Africa.”
“Ok, the hyena is my favorite and I wish I could see him do it in action!”
“At this point, this is nothing more than what we call hyena attacks, which happen when the bearish investors send their media hounds out to attack any weak prey in an attempt to foment”
“One hyena is biting your tail while another is biting your foreleg.”
“This is so true, I say that literally all the time to my cat. (thanks for the pointer, Ben!) hyena from the bee”
“(link) its like being angry at a hungry hyena, the hyena is just doing what comes naturally.”
“It's devastating for the hyenas, it's like killing the queen bee. hyenas have a mixed reputation (cowardice, scavenging) because they have mixed behaviour. they can be intimidated by small but spirited jackals. but they could also intimidate leopards and solitary lions on their best day (the smart cats would do the sensible thing and leave, getting bitten by a hyena is bad news anytime). because they are primarily nocturnal, most of their excellent hunting is hidden from view. so most observers see only the 'lowly' carrion eating in daylight.”
“Bradley sat down unconscious of the fact that he had been insulted by being called a hyena-man, an appellation of contempt in Caspak.”
“They never got hold of one, for the hyena is a coward.”
“The hyena is a cruel beast like to the wolf in devouring and gluttony, and reseth on dead men, and taketh their carcase out of the earth, and devoureth them.”
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Words and phrases George Orwell criticizes in his essay 'Politics and the English Language'.
ring the changes on, take up the cudge..., toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to..., play into the han..., no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubl..., on the order of t..., Achilles’ heel, swan song and 162 more...
We get a lot of spam emails at Wordnik that fit this pattern: "Mr Bob Wilson here and i will like to know if you do have X for sale". The words on this list represent a subset of such requested items.
Words that sound like you're saying hi to a person.
Words used to create the names of Pokémon, which are usually portmanteaux.
Just what it sounds like. My favorites. Five letters.
Being animals, not necessarily limited to those commonly found in zoos.
animals of interest
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