What is a Werewolf?

What is a Werewolf, anyway? Well, in this day in age I think most people could tell you that a Werewolf is simply "A person believed to have been transformed into a wolf or to be capable of assuming the form of a wolf." (Answers.com).

But were (sorry, bad pun) did the term come from? "The name most likely derives from Old English wer (or were) and wulf. The first part, wer, translates as "man" (in the sense of male human, not the race of humanity). It has cognates in several Germanic languages including Gothic wair, Old High German wer and Old Norse var, as well as in other Indo-European languages, such as Latin vir, Irish fear, Lithuanian vyras and Welsh gwr, which have the same meaning. The second half, wulf, is the ancestor of modern English "wolf"; in some cases it also had the general meaning "beast". An alternative etymology derives the first part from Old English weri (to wear); the full form in this case would be glossed as wearer of wolf skin. Related to this interpretation is Old Norse ulfhednar, which denoted lupine equivalents of the bearlike berserkr who were said to wear a bear skin into battle." (wikipedia.org).

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