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

  • n. A person believed to have been transformed into a wolf or to be capable of assuming the form of a wolf.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who is transformed or can transform into a wolf or a wolflike human, often said to transform during a full moon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A person transformed into a wolf in form and appetite, either temporarily or permanently, whether by supernatural influences, by witchcraft, or voluntarily; a lycanthrope. Belief in werewolves, formerly general, is not now extinct.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. etc. See werwolf, etc.

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

  • n. a monster able to change appearance from human to wolf and back again


Middle English, from Old English werewulf : wer, man; + wulf, wolf; see wolf.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Late Old English werewulf, from wer ("man") + wulf ("wolf"). Other theories have been suggested; see Werewolf: Etymology. Cognate to garou in French loup-garou ("werewolf"), from Old French warous, from Frankish wari wulf. (Wiktionary)



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

  • The hunger, in its vicious simplicity, teaches you how to be a werewolf. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    April 1, 2012

  • The etymology is pretty cool -- relation to Latin vir never occurred to me before.

    January 19, 2010

  • Some Bavarian peasants having caught a wolf one evening, tied it to a post by the tail and went to bed. The next morning nothing was there! Greatly perplexed, they consulted the local priest, who told them that their captive was undoubtedly a werewolf and had resumed its human form during the night. "The next time that you take a wolf," the good man said, "see that you chain it by the leg, and in the morning you will find a Lutheran."
    Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

    October 15, 2007