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See also: líon and Lion


A lion.


From Old French lion, from Latin leō, (genitive: leōnis), from Ancient Greek λέων (léōn). Some argue that it is a borrowing from a Semitic language; however evidence is not clear and the relation with the Proto-Semitic *labiʾ- is not solid. The Semitic "labi/lavi" could be either a parent term to the Greek one or (most probably) both to have evolved independently by a now lost root. Many ancient languages possessed similar words for lion, including Akkadian 𒌨 (labbu). It is unclear as to who borrowed the word from whom, though the ultimate source is likely non-Indo-European.



lion (plural lions or lion)

  1. A big cat, Panthera leo, native to Africa, India and formerly to much of Europe. The term may apply to the species as a whole, to individuals, or to male individuals. It also applies to related species like mountain lions.
    Tigers and lions share a common ancestor from a few million years ago.
    1. A male lion.
  2. (heraldry) A stylized representation of a large cat, used on a coat of arms.
  3. A Chinese foo dog.
  4. An individual who shows strength and courage, attributes associated with the lion.
    • 2003, Peter Armstrong and Angus McBride, Stirling Bridge & Falkirk 1297–98: William Wallace's Rebellion:
      It was said of [Edward Plantaganet] that 'he was a lion for pride and ferocity but a pard for inconstancy and changeableness, not keeping his word or promise but excusing himself with fair words'.
  5. A famous person regarded with interest and curiosity.
    • Prof. Wilson
      Such society was far more enjoyable than that of Edinburgh, for here he was not a lion, but a man.
    • 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, ch. 4
      Rose Waterford was a cynic. She looked upon life as an opportunity for writing novels and the public as her raw material. Now and then she invited members of it to her house if they showed an appreciation of her talent and entertained with proper lavishness. She held their weakness for lions in good-humoured contempt, but played to them her part of the distinguished woman of letters with decorum.
  6. A light brown color that resembles the fur of a lion
    lion colour:    

Coordinate terms[edit]


  • (individual Panthera leo): pride

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



lion (comparative more lion, superlative most lion)

  1. Of the light brown color that resembles the fur of a lion.

See also[edit]




From Old French, from Latin leō, from Greek λέων (leon)



lion m (plural lions, feminine lionne)

  1. lion (animal)
    1. (specifically) male lion
  2. (figuratively) lion (brave person)
    Se défendre comme un lion, - to defend oneself with great courage
  3. (heraldry) lion
  4. (figuratively, dated) lion (celebrity; famous person)
  5. (dated) a style of elegant young man that came after the dandy


External links[edit]

Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Latin leō, derived from Greek leon (λέων).


lion m (oblique plural lions, nominative singular lions, nominative plural lion)

  1. lion (animal)