One entry found for hyena.
Main Entry: hyena
Pronunciation: himacr-primarystressemacron-nschwa
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English hyene "hyena," from Latin hyaena (same meaning), from Greek hyaina (same meaning), from hys "hog, pig"
: any of several large strong Old World mammals that eat flesh and are active at night
Word History Many pigs have manes of stiff hair that extend down their necks. When the ancient Greeks first saw hyenas, they thought the animals' manes looked like the manes of pigs. They called these strange animals hyaina, which comes from the Greek word hys, meaning "hog, pig." Hyaena is the Latin form, which was borrowed into English and spelled hyena.
[hyena illustration]


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