a. Any of several carnivorous mammals of the genus Canis, especially the gray wolf of northern regions, that typically live and hunt in packs.
b. The fur of such an animal.
c. Any of various similar or related mammals, such as the hyena.
2. The destructive larva of any of various moths, beetles, or flies.
3. One that is regarded as predatory, rapacious, and fierce.
4. Slang A man who habitually makes aggressive sexual advances to women.
a. A harshness in some tones of a bowed stringed instrument produced by defective vibration.
b. Dissonance in perfect fifths on a keyboard instrument tuned to a system of unequal temperament.
tr.v.wolfed, wolf·ing, wolfsIdioms:
To eat greedily or voraciously:"The town's big shots were ... wolfing down the buffet"(Ralph Ellison).
wolf at the door
Creditors or a creditor.
wolf in sheep's clothing
One who feigns congeniality while actually holding malevolent intentions.
[Middle English, fromOld Englishwulf; see wkwo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.