Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


or hyaena

[hahy-ee-nuh] /haɪˈi nə/
a doglike carnivore of the family Hyaenidae, of Africa, southwestern Asia, and south central Asia, having a coarse coat, a sloping back, and large teeth and feeding chiefly on carrion, often in packs.
Origin of hyena
1350-1400; Middle English hiena < Medieval Latin hyēna, Latin hyaena < Greek hýaina, equivalent to hy- (stem of hŷs) hog + -aina feminine suffix; replacing Middle English hyane, hyene < Middle French hiene < Latin
Related forms
hyenic, hyenine
[hahy-ee-nahyn, -nin] /haɪˈi naɪn, -nɪn/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for hyena
Historical Examples
  • The wolf seconded the motion, and the hyena said that suits.

    Hell Robert G. Ingersoll
  • That night he slipped through the dark, like a hyena pup, to Ringwood.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • The cayman of South America is very ferocious, and is popularly styled the hyena of the alligator tribe.

  • Look at the case of the "hyena," as he was called in his prime.

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • That monster of a hyena must have been here; and I am afraid the brute has not even left us enough for breakfast.

    Saved from the Sea W.H.G. Kingston
  • That hyena, I reflected, would want no more food at present.

    Queen Sheba's Ring H. Rider Haggard
  • On the brink, silhouetted against it, a hyena stood and howled.

  • It was not a lion, nor a leopard, nor a hyena, nor yet a jackal.

    The Bush Boys Captain Mayne Reid
  • It was a blood-curdling voice, a sound between the mewing of a cat and the wheezy chokings of a hyena.

  • It is just where these large bones are found in greatest plenty that we find the hyena.

    The Bush Boys Captain Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for hyena


any of several long-legged carnivorous doglike mammals of the genera Hyaena and Crocuta, such as C. crocuta (spotted or laughing hyena), of Africa and S Asia: family Hyaenidae, order Carnivora (carnivores) See also strandwolf
Derived Forms
hyenic, hyaenic, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin, from Latin hyaena, from Greek huaina, from hus hog
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hyena

mid-14c., from Old French hiene, from Latin hyaena, from Greek hyaina "swine" (fem.), from hys "pig" + fem. suffix -aina. So called for its bristles. Applied to cruel, treacherous, and greedy persons since at least 1670s. Adjectival forms that have been attempted in English include hyenaish, hyenaesque, hyenic, hyenine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hyena

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hyena

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for hyena