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PronouncedPron.BAY-ə-woolf English

Meaning & History

Possibly means "bee wolf" (in effect equal to "bear") from Old English beo "bee" and wulf "wolf". Alternatively, the first element may be beadu "battle". This is the name of the main character in the anonymous 8th-century epic poem 'Beowulf'. Set in Denmark, the poem tells how he slays the monster Grendel and its mother at the request of King Hroðgar. After this Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats. The conclusion of the poem tells how Beawulf, in his old age, slays a dragon but is himself mortally wounded in the act.


Depiction of Beowulf from a 1915 book of mythologyDepiction of Beowulf from a 1915 book of mythology


animals, canines, heroes, insects, literature, nature, uncertain etymology
Entry updated May 31, 2018   Contribute