1 [grif-in]

1300–50; Middle English griffoun < Middle French grifon < Latin grȳphus < Greek grȳp- (stem of grȳ́ps) curled, curved, having a hooked nose

griffinesque, adjective Unabridged


2 [grif-in]
(in India and the East) a newcomer, especially a white person from a Western country.

1785–95; origin uncertain

griffinage, griffinhood, griffinism, noun
griffinish, adjective


a city in W Georgia.
a male given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
griffin, griffon or gryphon1 (ˈɡrɪfɪn)
a winged monster with an eagle-like head and the body of a lion
[C14: from Old French grifon, from Latin grӯphus, from Greek grups, from grupos hooked]
griffon, griffon or gryphon1
[C14: from Old French grifon, from Latin grӯphus, from Greek grups, from grupos hooked]
gryphon, griffon or gryphon1
[C14: from Old French grifon, from Latin grӯphus, from Greek grups, from grupos hooked]

griffin2 (ˈɡrɪfɪn)
a newcomer to the Orient, esp one from W Europe
[C18: of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1200, from O.Fr. grifon "a bird of prey," also "fabulous bird of Gk. mythology" (with head and wings of an eagle, body and hind quarters of a lion, believed to inhabit Scythia and guard its gold), from L.L. gryphus, misspelling of grypus, variant of gryps (gen. grypos), from Gk. gryps (gen. grypos)
"curved, hook-nosed," in reference to its beak. But Klein suggests a Sem. source, "through the medium of the Hittites," and cites Heb. kerubh "a winged angel," Akkad. karibu, epithet of the bull-colossus (see cherub).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


composite mythological creature with a lion's body (winged or wingless) and a bird's head, usually that of an eagle. The griffin was a favourite decorative motif in the ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean lands. Probably originating in the Levant in the 2nd millennium BC, the griffin had spread throughout western Asia and into Greece by the 14th century BC. The Asiatic griffin had a crested head, whereas the Minoan and Greek griffin usually had a mane of spiral curls. It was shown either recumbent or seated on its haunches, often paired with the sphinx; its function may have been protective

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The griffin was itself a compound creature, half lion and half eagle.
Griffin thinks that geographically distant survivors may each have unique genes for resistance.
Griffin later served time in jail for failing to perform the community-service requirement imposed as part of his sentence.
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