Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Women were like she wolves for greed when they had a brood of whelps.

Wolves or watch-dogs, it was hard to say from which the sheep had most to fear.

Down almost to our own day the depredations of wolves were frightful.

Why should a coyote, who is the least of all wolves, hunt for himself when he can find a man to follow?

Yes, they were wolves leaping at the throat of her father, and joying in the defeat of Lucretia.

"I'd like t' kill them wolves," said Johnny, coming in just then.

I thought that in the wilderness one heard always the night-yelping of the wolves.

What would be easier than to leave you here--for the wolves, or these Indians here?

We shall drive the scoundrels back--such as we do not feed to the wolves.

Perhaps the wolves have driven the buck to shelter, and are following on his trail.


Old English wulf, from Proto-Germanic *wulfaz (cf. Old Saxon wulf, Old Norse ulfr, Old Frisian, Dutch, Old High German, German wolf, Gothic wulfs), from PIE *wlqwos/*lukwos, from root *wlp-/*lup- (cf. Sanskrit vrkas, Avestan vehrka-; Albanian ulk; Old Church Slavonic vluku; Russian volcica; Lithuanian vilkas "wolf;" Old Persian Varkana- "Hyrcania," district southeast of the Caspian Sea, literally "wolf-land;" probably also Greek lykos, Latin lupus).

Wolves as a symbol of lust are ancient, e.g. Roman slang lupa "whore," literally "she-wolf" (preserved in Spanish loba, Italian lupa, French louve). The equation of "wolf" and "prostitute, sexually voracious female" persisted into 12c., but by Elizabethan times wolves had become primarily symbolic of male lust. The specific use of wolf for "sexually aggressive male" first recorded 1847; wolf-whistle first attested 1952. The image of a wolf in sheep's skin is attested from c.1400. See here for a discussion of "wolf" in Indo-European history.

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.