- A large carnivorous feline mammal (Panthera leo) of Africa and northwest India, having a short tawny coat, a tufted tail, and, in the male, a heavy mane around the neck and shoulders.
- A mountain lion.
a. A very brave person.
b. A person regarded as fierce or savage.
c. A noted person; a celebrity: a literary lion.
- Lion See Leo.
Origin of lion
Middle English from
Old French from
Latin leō leōn- from
Greek leōn of Semitic origin lbℵWord History:
Old French lion
is the source of English lion,
and the Old French word comes from Latin leō, leōnis.
The Latin word is related somehow to Greek leōn, leontos
(earlier *lewōn, *lewontos
), which appears in the name of the Spartan king Leonidas,
“Lion's son,” who perished at Thermopylae. The Greek word is somehow related to Coptic labai, laboi,
“lioness.” In turn, Coptic labai
is borrowed from a Semitic source related to Hebrew lābī'
and Akkadian labbu.
There is also a native ancient Egyptian word, rw
can stand for either r
and vowels were not indicated), which is surely related as well. Since lions were native to Africa, Asia, and Europe in ancient times (Aristotle tells us there were lions in Macedon in his day), we have no way of ascertaining who borrowed which word from whom.
male (left) and female (right) lions
(plural lions or lion)
- A big cat, Panthera leo, native to Africa, India and formerly to much of Europe. The term may apply to the species as a whole, to individuals, or to male individuals. It also applies to related species like mountain lions.
- Tigers and lions share a common ancestor from a few million years ago.
- A male lion.
- (heraldry) A stylized representation of a large cat, used on a coat of arms.
- A Chinese foo dog.
- An individual who shows strength and courage, attributes associated with the lion.
- A famous person regarded with interest and curiosity.
terms etymologically related to lion
From Old French lion, from Latin leÅ, (genitive: leÅnis), from Ancient Greek Î»ÎÏ‰Î½ (leÅn), likely a borrowing from a Semitic language; compare Proto-Semitic *labiÊ¾-. Many ancient languages possessed similar words for lion, including Akkadian ð’Œ¨ (labbu) . It is unclear as to who borrowed the word from whom, though the ultimate source is likely non-Indo-European.