were·wolf also wer·wolf (wâr’wo͝olf′, wîr’-, wûr’-)
n. 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- + wulf, wolf; see WOLF(Cf. ↑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."

Word Histories. 2014.

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  • werewolf — n. pl. werwolves [wer′woolf΄, wir′woolf΄] n. werewolves [wir′woolvz΄, wʉr′woolvz΄, wer′woolvz΄] [ME werwolf < OE werwulf < wer, man < IE * wiros, man (prob. orig., “the strong one” < base * wei , to be strong > L vis, power, vir,… …   English World dictionary

  • Werewolf — For other uses, see Werewolf (disambiguation). Wolf man and Lycanthrope redirect here. For other uses, see Wolf man (disambiguation) and Lycanthrope (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

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  • Werewolf —    A person who can turn into a wolf or a wolf like creature, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Often a full Moon will cause the transformation into a Werewolf. They are known to kill and eat people. A Werewolf can be killed or injured by… …   The writer's dictionary of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mythology

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