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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hyena
Historical Examples
  • That night he slipped through the dark, like a hyena pup, to Ringwood.

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

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • The third is found at the point called the Plateau of hyena.

  • Then there were loud guffaws, and oaths, and cries like the cry of the hyena.

    The Scapegoat Hall Caine
  • One heard from the depths of the jungle the tittering of a hyena.


    Stephen French Whitman
  • As he emerged the captain was on his back with all the ferocity of a hyena.

    Frontier Boys in Frisco

    Wyn Roosevelt
  • But, true to his nature, before doing so he decided to play the hyena.

    Pocket Island Charles Clark Munn
  • Beyond that, an Arab has got no more hospitality than a hyena.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • That hyena, I reflected, would want no more food at present.

    Queen Sheba's Ring H. Rider Haggard
  • The matter is referred to the hyena, who says to the Man: "If you were bitten, what would it matter?"

    Nights With Uncle Remus Joel Chandler Harris
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
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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
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