Origin: OE. Wolf, wulf, AS. Wulf; akin to OS. Wulf, D. & G. Wolf, Icel. Ulfr, Sw. Ulf, Dan. Ulv, Goth. Wulfs, Lith. Vilkas, Russ. Volk', L. Lupus, Gr. Lykos, Skr. Vrika; also to Gr. "elkein to draw, drag, tear in pieces. Cf. Lupine, Lyceum.

1. <zoology> Any one of several species of wild and savage carnivores belonging to the genus Canis and closely allied to the common dog. The best-known and most destructive species are the European wolf (Canis lupus), the American gray, or timber, wolf (C. Occidentalis), and the prairie wolf, or coyote. Wolves often hunt in packs, and may thus attack large animals and even man.

2. <zoology> One of the destructive, and usually hairy, larvae of several species of beetles and grain moths; as, the bee wolf.

3. Any very ravenous, rapacious, or destructive person or thing; especially, want; starvation; as, they toiled hard to keep the wolf from the door.

4. A white worm, or maggot, which infests granaries.

5. An eating ulcer or sore. Cf. Lupus. "If God should send a cancer upon thy face, or a wolf into thy side." (Jer. Taylor)

6. The harsh, howling sound of some of the chords on an organ or piano tuned by unequal temperament. In bowed instruments, a harshness due to defective vibration in certain notes of the scale.

7. A willying machine. Black wolf.

Any one of several species of large, voracious marine fishes of the genus Anarrhichas, especially the common species (A. Lupus) of Europe and North America. These fishes have large teeth and powerful jaws. Called also catfish, sea cat, sea wolf, stone biter, and swinefish. Wolf net, a kind of net used in fishing, which takes great numbers of fish.

<botany> Wolf's peach, a savage carnivorous marsupial (Thylacinus cynocephalus) native of Tasmania; called also Tasmanian wolf.

(01 Mar 1998)

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