Definition of wolf noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//wʊlf//
; NAmE NAmE//wʊlf//
Wild mammals
jump to other results
  • (pl. wolves
    BrE BrE//wʊlvz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wʊlvz//
    a large wild animal of the dog family, that lives and hunts in groups a pack of wolves See related entries: Wild mammals
  • Word OriginOld English wulf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wolf and German Wolf, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin lupus and Greek lukos. The verb dates from the mid 19th cent.Extra examples A lone wolf howled under the full moon. Labour groups are often seen as the big bad wolf. She called the media ‘ravening wolves’. She compared the media to a pack of ravening/​ravenous wolves. a story of a young boy raised by wolvesIdioms to call for help when you do not need it, with the result that when you do need it people do not believe you
    keep the wolf from the door
    jump to other results
    (informal) to have enough money to avoid going hungry; to stop somebody feeling hungry
    a person who prefers to be alone
    throw somebody to the wolves
    jump to other results
    to leave somebody to be roughly treated or criticized without trying to help or defend them
    a wolf in sheep’s clothing
    jump to other results
    a person who seems to be friendly or harmless but is really an enemy
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: wolf