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[grif-in] /ˈgrɪf ɪn/
noun, Classical Mythology
a fabled monster, usually having the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.
Also, griffon, gryphon
[grif-uh n] /ˈgrɪf ən/ (Show IPA)
Origin of griffin1
1300-50; Middle English griffoun < Middle French grifon < Latin grȳphus < Greek grȳp- (stem of grȳ́ps) curled, curved, having a hooked nose
Related forms
griffinesque, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for gryphons


a winged monster with an eagle-like head and the body of a lion
Word Origin
C14: from Old French grifon, from Latin grӯphus, from Greek grups, from grupos hooked


a newcomer to the Orient, esp one from W Europe
Word Origin
C18: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for gryphons



c.1200 (as a surname), from Old French grifon "a bird of prey," also "fabulous bird of Greek mythology" (with head and wings of an eagle, body and hind quarters of a lion, believed to inhabit Scythia and guard its gold), from Late Latin gryphus, misspelling of grypus, variant of gryps (genitive grypos), from Greek gryps (genitive grypos) "curved, hook-nosed," in reference to its beak.

Klein suggests a Semitic source, "through the medium of the Hittites," and cites Hebrew kerubh "a winged angel," Akkad. karibu, epithet of the bull-colossus (see cherub). The same or an identical word was used, with uncertain connections, in mid-19c. Louisiana to mean "mulatto" (especially one one-quarter or two-fifths white) and in India from late 18c. to mean "newly arrived European."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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