American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Either of two carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae, especially the gray wolf of northern regions, that typically live and hunt in hierarchical packs and prey on livestock and game animals.
- n. The fur of such an animal.
- n. Any of various similar or related mammals, such as the hyena.
- n. The destructive larva of any of various moths, beetles, or flies.
- n. One that is regarded as predatory, rapacious, and fierce.
- n. Slang A man given to paying unwanted sexual attention to women.
- n. Music A harshness in some tones of a bowed stringed instrument produced by defective vibration.
- n. Music Dissonance in perfect fifths on a keyboard instrument tuned to a system of unequal temperament.
- v. To eat greedily or voraciously: "The town's big shots were ... wolfing down the buffet” ( Ralph Ellison).
- idiom. wolf at the door Creditors or a creditor.
- idiom. wolf in sheep's clothing One who feigns congeniality while actually holding malevolent intentions.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A digitigrade carnivorous canine quadruped, Cants lupus, of the lupine or thoöid series of Canidæ; hence, some similar animal. The common wolf of Europe, etc., is yellowish or fulvous-gray, with harsh strong hair, erect pointed ears, and the tail straight or nearly so. The height at the shoulder is from 27 to 29 inches. Wolves are swift of foot, crafty, and rapacious, and destructive enemies to the sheep-cote and farm yard; they associate in packs to hunt the larger quadrupeds, as the deer, the elk, etc. When hard pressed with hunger these packs not infrequently attack isolated travelers, and have been known even to enter villages and carry off children. In general, however, wolves are cowardly and stealthy, approaching sheepfolds and farm-buildings only at dead of night, making a rapid retreat if in the least disturbed by a dog or a man, and exhibiting great cunning in the avoidance of traps. Wolves are still numerous in some parts of Europe, as France, Hungary, Spain, Turkey, and Russia; they probably ceased to exist in England about the end of the fifteenth century, and in Scotland in the first part of the eighteenth century; the latter date probably marks also the disappearance of wolves in Ireland. The wolves of North America are of two very distinct species. One of these is scarcely different from the European, but is generally regarded as a variety, under the name of C. l. occidentalis. The usual color is a grizzled gray, but it sports in many colors, as reddish and blackish. Most strains of the American wolf are larger and stouter than those of Europe. The gray wolf is also called the buffalo-wolf, from its former abundance in the buffalo-range, and timber-wolf, as distinguished from the prairie-wolf or coyote, Canislatrans, a much smaller and very different animal, which lives chiefly in open country, in burrows in the ground, and in some respects resembles the jackal. (See
coyote, with cut.) Yet other wolves, of rather numerous species, inhabit most parts of the world; some grade into jackals (see Thous), others toward foxes (see fox-wolf); and most of them interbreed easily with some varieties of the dog of the countries they respectively inhabit, the dog itself being a composite of a mixed wolf ancestry (see wolf-dog, 2).
- n. A person noted for ravenousness, cruelty, cunning, or the like: used in opprobrium.
- n. In entomology:
- n. A small naked caterpillar, the larva of Tinea granella, the wolf-moth, which infests granaries.
- n. The larva of a bot-fly; a warble.
- n. A tuberculous excrescence which rapidly eats away the flesh. See lupus, 3.
- n. In music:
- n. The harsh discord heard in certain chords of keyboard-instruments, especially the organ, when tuned on some system of unequal temperament. In the mean-tone system, as usually applied, five intervals in each octave were discordant—namely, G♯-Eь, B-Eь F♯-Bь, C♯-F, and G♯-C. Under the modern system of equal temperament, the wolf is evenly distributed, and so practically unnoticed.
- n. A chord or interval in which such a discord appears.
- n. In instruments of the viol class, a discordant or false vibration in a string when stopped at a certain point, usually due to a defect in the structure or adjustment of the instrument. Sometimes called wolf-note.
- n. A wooden fence placed across a ditch in the corner of a field, to prevent cattle from straying into another field by means of the ditch.
- n. Same as willow.
- To hunt for wolves.
- To devour ravenously: as, to wolf down food.
- n. A large wild canid of certain subspecies of Canis lupus.
- n. A man who makes amorous advances on many women.
- n. music A wolf tone or wolf note; an unpleasant tone produced when a note matches the natural resonating frequency of the body of a musical instrument, the quality of which may be likened to the howl of a wolf.
- v. transitive To devour; to gobble; to eat (something) voraciously.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of several species of wild and savage carnivores belonging to the genus Canis and closely allied to the common dog. The best-known and most destructive species are the European wolf (Canis lupus), the American gray, or timber, wolf (Canis occidentalis), and the prairie wolf, or coyote. Wolves often hunt in packs, and may thus attack large animals and even man.
- n. (Zoöl.) One of the destructive, and usually hairy, larvæ of several species of beetles and grain moths.
- n. Fig.: Any very ravenous, rapacious, or destructive person or thing; especially, want; starvation.
- n. A white worm, or maggot, which infests granaries.
- n. obsolete An eating ulcer or sore. Cf. Lupus.
- n. The harsh, howling sound of some of the chords on an organ or piano tuned by unequal temperament.
- n. In bowed instruments, a harshness due to defective vibration in certain notes of the scale.
- n. (Textile Manuf.) A willying machine.
- n. any of various predatory carnivorous canine mammals of North America and Eurasia that usually hunt in packs
- n. Austrian composer (1860-1903)
- n. German classical scholar who claimed that the Iliad and Odyssey were composed by several authors (1759-1824)
- v. eat hastily
- n. a cruelly rapacious person
- n. a man who is aggressive in making amorous advances to women
- From Middle English wolf, from Old English wulf, ƿulf, from Proto-Germanic *wulfaz (compare West Frisian and Dutch wolf, German Wolf, Danish ulv), from Proto-Indo-European *wĺ̥kʷos; akin to Sanskrit वृक (vṛ́ka), Persian گرگ (gorg), Lithuanian vilkas, Russian волк (volk), Albanian ujk, Latin lupus, Greek λύκος, Tocharian B walkwe. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English wulf. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Of all these the grey wolf is the most common, and is _par excellence the wolf_; but there are districts in which individuals of other colours predominate.”
“One howlin 'wolf is awesome enough ... but three???”
“Zenmomma's Garden: One howlin 'wolf is awesome enough ... but three???”
“I think a certain wolf is starting to snarl about it being time for his story.”
“The Lakota say "we are all reletives", the wolf is our brother and deserves our respect.”
“In other words, the wolf is a "persistence predator.”
“Actually, if the wolf is at the door, money certainly is a motivator.”
“Yes, Al Qaeda in Iraq has been significantly diminished, its capability substantially degraded," says Petraeus, "but we assess they remain lethal — what we call the wolf closest to the sled.”
“For the Cannes-Venice-Berlin film festival circuit, this wolf is a good candidate.”
“Red man find what you call wolf around his wigwam, red man send arrow through his head.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘wolf’.
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Unabashedly stolen from a comment made by courier12.
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The title is an actual name given to a Puritan boy in the 17th century.
Looking for tweets for wolf.