werewolf(redirected from Were wolfs)
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were·wolfalso wer·wolf (wâr′wo͝olf′, wîr′-, wûr′-)
A person believed to have been transformed into a wolf or to be capable of assuming the form of a wolf.
[Middle English, from Old English werewulf : wer, man; see wī-ro- in Indo-European roots + wulf, wolf; see wolf.]
Word History: The meaning wolf in werewolf is current English; the were is not. Werewulf, "werewolf," occurs only once in Old English, about the year 1000, in the laws of King Canute: "lest the madly ravenous werewolf too savagely tear or devour too much from a godly flock." The wer- or were- in wer(e)wulf means "man"; it is related to Latin vir with the same meaning, the source of virile and virility. Both the Germanic and the Latin words derive from Indo-European *wīro-, "man." Wer- also appears, though much disguised, in the word world. World is first recorded (written wiaralde) in Old English in a charter dated 832; the form worold occurs in Beowulf. The Old English forms come from Germanic *wer-ald-, "were-eld" or "man-age." The transfer of meaning from the age of humans to the place where they live has a parallel in the Latin word saeculum, "age, generation, lifetime," later "world."
n, pl -wolves
(European Myth & Legend) a person fabled in folklore and superstition to have been changed into a wolf by being bewitched or said to be able to assume wolf form at will
[Old English werewulf, from wer man + wulf wolf; related to Old High German werwolf, Middle Dutch weerwolf]
or wer•wolf(ˈwɛərˌwʊlf, ˈwɪər-, ˈwɜr-)
n., pl. -wolves (-ˌwʊlvz)
(in folklore) a person who has assumed the form of a wolf.
[before 1000; Middle English werwolf, Old English werwulf=wer man (c. Gothic wair, Latin vir) + wulf wolf; c. Middle Dutch weerwolf, Old High German werwolf]
werewolf[ˈwɛərwʊlf ˈwɪərwʊlf] [werewolves] (pl) n → loup-garou m
n → Werwolf m