Get the details behind our redesign


[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.
Also, hyaena.
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. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for hyena
  • The highlight of the trip would have to be getting up close and personal w the hyena.
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 O.Fr. hiene, from L. hyaena, from Gk. hyaina "swine" (fem.), from hys "pig." Applied to cruel, treacherous, and greedy persons since at least 1670s.
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

Quotes with hyena