Hyena definition

hī-ēnə
Frequency:
Any of various wolflike carnivores (family Hyaenidae) of Africa and Asia, with powerful jaws, a bristly mane, short hind legs, and a characteristic shrill cry suggestive of laughter: hyenas are hunters and scavengers.
noun
3
1
Any of several carnivorous mammals of the family Hyaenidae of Africa and Asia, which feed as scavengers and have powerful jaws, relatively short hind limbs, and coarse hair.
noun
2
1
Large, canine‐resembling carnivore belonging to the family Hyaenidae, native to Africa and Asia, often notable for the sound similar to laughter which it can make if excited.
noun
0
1
Advertisement

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
hyena
Plural:
hyen, hyenae, hyenas

Origin of hyena

  • Middle English hiena from Old French hiene from Latin hyaena from Greek huaina feminine of hūs swine (from its bristly mane like a hog's) sū- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Old French hyene, from Latin hyaena, from Ancient Greek ὕαινα (huaina).

    From Wiktionary