Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several carnivorous mammals of the family Hyaenidae of Africa and Asia, which feed as scavengers and have powerful jaws, relatively short hind limbs, and coarse hair.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Large, canine‐resembling carnivore belonging to the family Hyaenidae, native to Africa and Asia, often notable for the sound similar to laughter which it can make if excited.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any carnivorous mammal of the family Hyænidæ, doglike nocturnal mammals of Africa and southern Asia, of which three living species are known. They are large and strong, but cowardly. They feed chiefly on carrion, and are nocturnal in their habits.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A carnivorous quadruped of the genus Hyæna or family Hyænidæ.
  • n. The pouched dog, the thylacine dasyure of Tasmania, Thylacinus cynocephalus: so called from its predaceous and carnivorous habits. See zebra-wolf.
  • n. Also spelled hyæna.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. doglike nocturnal mammal of Africa and southern Asia that feeds chiefly on carrion

Etymologies

Middle English hiena, from Old French hiene, from Latin hyaena, from Greek huaina, feminine of hūs, swine (from its bristly mane like a hog's).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French hiene, from Latin hyaena, from Ancient Greek ὕαινα (huaina), from ὗς (hūs, "swine, pig") and -αινα ("feminine suffix"), from Proto-Indo-European *sū (“swine”). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Today, the hyena is the most common carnivore in Africa.

    A Kind Word For Fisi*

  • Ok, the hyena is my favorite and I wish I could see him do it in action!

    Thursday Thirteen (No 2)

  • At this point, this is nothing more than what we call hyena attacks, which happen when the bearish investors send their media hounds out to attack any weak prey in an attempt to foment

    US Market Commentary from Seeking Alpha

  • One hyena is biting your tail while another is biting your foreleg.

    Axelrod slams Romney

  • This is so true, I say that literally all the time to my cat. (thanks for the pointer, Ben!) hyena from the bee

    You’re A Kitty! : #comments

  • (link) its like being angry at a hungry hyena, the hyena is just doing what comes naturally.

    A roundup of the NEA propaganda scandal. - Moe_Lane’s blog - RedState

  • It's devastating for the hyenas, it's like killing the queen bee. hyenas have a mixed reputation (cowardice, scavenging) because they have mixed behaviour. they can be intimidated by small but spirited jackals. but they could also intimidate leopards and solitary lions on their best day (the smart cats would do the sensible thing and leave, getting bitten by a hyena is bad news anytime). because they are primarily nocturnal, most of their excellent hunting is hidden from view. so most observers see only the 'lowly' carrion eating in daylight.

    A Kind Word For Fisi*

  • Bradley sat down unconscious of the fact that he had been insulted by being called a hyena-man, an appellation of contempt in Caspak.

    Out of Time's Abyss

  • They never got hold of one, for the hyena is a coward.

    African Camp Fires

  • The hyena is a cruel beast like to the wolf in devouring and gluttony, and reseth on dead men, and taketh their carcase out of the earth, and devoureth them.

    Mediaeval Lore from Bartholomew Anglicus

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