Definition of lion in English:

lion

Line breaks: lion
Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪən
 
/

noun

1A large tawny-coloured cat that lives in prides, found in Africa and NW India. The male has a flowing shaggy mane and takes little part in hunting, which is done cooperatively by the females.
  • Panthera leo, family Felidae
More example sentences
  • Three year-old male lions grow manes that vary in color from black to blond.
  • Male lions develop thick woolly manes on the neck and shoulders, signifying maturity.
  • For instance, by choosing to hunt at a different place or time, coyotes avoid wolves, cheetahs avoid lions, and leopards avoid tigers.
Synonyms
big cat; king of the beasts; lioness
1.1The lion as an emblem (e.g. of English or Scottish royalty) or as a charge in heraldry.
More example sentences
  • This design is blazoned as ‘Gules, three lions passant guardant in pale Or,’ and it is still the coat of arms of England today.
  • I needn't see the heraldic lion on his clothes' front to know where he came from.
  • He wanted a unique way to show his support for England and so he had the three lions emblem and St George's cross engraved on his false teeth.
1.2 (the Lion) The zodiacal sign or constellation Leo.
1.3A brave, strong, or fierce person.
More example sentences
  • Rather, it's in betting on which young lion may take him out.
Synonyms
hero, man of courage, brave man, lionheart, lionhearted man; conqueror, champion, conquering hero, warrior, knight, paladin
1.4 (usually literary lion) A notable or famous author.
More example sentences
  • Maybe just the act of posting a novel in a forum where bored Babus can read it and slam it will be enough to awaken the sleeping literary lion in aspiring novelists.
  • Even bigger if you add that he's working with a major publisher and that literary lion Kurt Vonnegut calls the book ‘… nothing less than the soul of an extremely interesting human being at war…‘
  • Endre Farkas' invitation to celebrate literary lion Pablo Neruda's 100th birthday inspired a series of performative prose-poem vignettes, Proem Cards From Chile.
Synonyms
2 (Lion or British Lion) A member of a touring international rugby union team representing the British Isles.
More example sentences
  • But the former Wasps centre is not about to embark on a playing career in Australia - he has won a national competition to follow the British Lions rugby union team on tour.
  • A sensation in union with his hat-trick of tries against a 1955 British Lions rugby union side, he delighted the crowds at Knowsley Road for 10 years in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • ‘Rob is a great player and it says everything that he was the first choice scrum-half on two British Lions ' tours only for injury to get in the way,’ he said.
3 (Lion) A member of a Lions Club.
More example sentences
  • He was a Lion, who joined in 1975 and became the first Secretary of the Virgin Gorda Lions Club.

Origin

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French liun, from Latin leo, leon-, from Greek leōn, leont-.

Phrases

the lion's den

A demanding, intimidating, or unpleasant place or situation: he marched reluctantly into the lion’s den to address the charity gala
More example sentences
  • There was never room for doubt that he would not survive in the lion's den of comedy: ‘It's one of those things where you have to be relentless.’
  • We know that we are going into the lion's den and we are playing against a side who can score five goals against anybody on any given day.
  • I was right in the lion's den as he had about 500 supporters in his home arena.

the lion's share

British The largest part of something.
More example sentences
  • And yet it has been the market, not public funding, that has generated the lion's share of successful cultural mixing in the arts.
  • It generated more than the lion's share of news headlines this weekend.
  • Unfortunately, the United States must share the lion's share of the burden for now.
Synonyms
most, the majority, the larger part/number, the greater part/number, the best/better part, the main part, more than half, the bulk, the preponderance

throw someone to the lions

Cause someone to be in an extremely dangerous or unpleasant situation.
[with reference to the throwing of Christians to the lions in Roman times]
More example sentences
  • Hey, at least we're not throwing them to the lions.
  • I am willing to give it a shot by throwing him to the lions and asking him what he prefers afterwards.
  • Everyone there reckoned the BBC were throwing him to the lions, but he waltzed through it and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

Derivatives

lion-like

adjective
More example sentences
  • More often than not, that last little bit doesn't get thrown in with lion-like qualities.
  • The lion-like predator, which could stand nearly one metre and weighed about 250 kilograms, had a pair of retractable thumb-like claws to disembowel or drag prey up trees.
  • Yellow dogs were also more lion-like in appearance.

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