Definition of lion in English:

lion

Pronunciation /ˈlīən/ /ˈlaɪən/

Translate lion into Spanish

noun

  • 1A large tawny-colored cat that lives in prides, found in Africa and northwestern 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

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Male lions use their manes to attract females, to scare competitors, to make them look bigger and to protect their head and neck during fights.’
    • ‘In field experiments female lions tend to choose male partners with the darkest manes.’
    • ‘There are springbok, wildebeest, red hartebeest, lion, leopard, cheetah and giraffe among others.’
    • ‘Male African lions perform this maneuver when they consort with a receptive female, herding her in the desired direction.’
    • ‘Wild African lions roam free within ten minutes drive of the center of Nairobi, Kenya.’
    • ‘Female Asiatic lions live an average of 17 to 18 years, with a maximum of 21 years.’
    • ‘The zoo had received its three Asiatic lions just two years ago as part of a European endangered species programme.’
    • ‘A troupe of lion cubs nuzzle her hand and chew playfully on her shoelaces.’
    • ‘Living with elephants and giraffes, and seeing lions hunt and kill, was fantastic.’
    • ‘The river has chiselled the mountain face, making it resemble a lion's paw.’
    • ‘A stone lion's head, which seems to float above a potted plant, drips water into the pool.’
    • ‘She noticed an intricately carved, roaring lion's head was at the end of the banister.’
    • ‘The crowd roars like a lion in a cage.’
    • ‘Apparently they don't even have the delightful touch farm and lion enclosure anymore.’
    • ‘At Babylon there is a famous basalt statue of a man being mauled by a lion.’
    • ‘South Africa contributes about 30 percent of lions hunted in sub-Saharan Africa.’
    • ‘However, they sometimes reached the pinnacle of honor by killing lions on their own.’
    1. 1.1The lion as an emblem (e.g. of English or Scottish royalty) or as a charge in heraldry.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘Four heraldic beasts - two stags, a lion and a griffin - stand guard at a stone staircase opposite the coffin.’
      • ‘When the Scottish King James I came to the throne he ordered that the heraldic red lion of Scotland be displayed on all buildings of importance including pubs.’
      • ‘On top of it, the blue banner with golden lion as heraldry of Central Kingdom flew.’
      • ‘Above the doorway of the old hall was a carved escutcheon with a lion rampant, the Arms of the De Lacys.’
      • ‘The sobriety of the streets is relieved by bridges with self-important towers or slightly pompous lions and griffins with gilded wings.’
      • ‘Notice the maker's mark is missing and that the lion passant mark is eroded in a peculiar fashion not consistent with normal wear.’
      • ‘There was a soiled and tawdry mirror above a massive metal and marble clock supported by a lion couchant on the mantelshelf.’
      • ‘Heraldically, they derive from the Azure, the lion rampant or coat of arms of the Galician Volynian Prince Lev I.’
      • ‘In the very few crannies left behind are fleurs-de-lis, rampant lions, unicorns, dogs, and vases of flowers.’
      • ‘It is therefore important when examining a slaver on foot to see that it is struck with the obligatory lion passant or leopard's head erased mark.’
      • ‘The ancient emblem for the nation was a lion holding a scimitar against a rising sun.’
      • ‘The Sri Lankan flag with the trademark lion embossed in the middle is flying high around the ring and every time a Sri Lankan batsman hits a boundary the roar from the crowd gets louder.’
      • ‘It was Italian, with a crest on it embroidered with three lions inside the shield with two more lions holding up the logo.’
      • ‘In his 66 displays with the three lions proudly emblazoned on his chest he rarely put a foot wrong.’
      • ‘Various Aokan emblems, such as the lion capital found on his pillars, have been adopted for official use by the modern state of India.’
      • ‘People filed by the coffin covered with the Queen Mother's personal standard which mixed the Royal Arms with the bows and lions of her own Bowes Lyon family.’
      • ‘They have two flags - the lion rampant and the saltire - but no national anthem.’
    2. 1.2the LionThe zodiacal sign or constellation Leo.
    3. 1.3A brave or strong person.
      ‘Though this lion has the tendency to be arrogant, sulky or smug, he/she is unrestrained in bed.’
      • ‘It would have been easy to retire and fade back and let the new lions take charge, but this never crossed Al's mind.’
      hero, man of courage, brave man, lionheart, lionhearted man
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4An influential or celebrated person.
      ‘a literary lion’
      • ‘He has been justly celebrated as a business lion - and the book reveals a certain beastliness.’
      • ‘Is Tim trying to hold off the emerging influence of a young leftie lion?’
      • ‘Though he needs no calling card today, how odd, and even sad, it is that this lion of American letters is still struggling to find his way into print.’
      celebrity, person of note, dignitary, notable, VIP, personality, public figure, celebutante, pillar of society, luminary
      View synonyms
  • 2

    (also Lion)
    A member of a Lions Club.

    • ‘He was a Lion, who joined in 1975 and became the first Secretary of the Virgin Gorda Lions Club.’

Phrases

    the lion's share
    • The largest part of something.

      • ‘William was appointed editor, which meant that he did the lion's share of the work’
    throw someone to the lions
    • Cause someone to be in an extremely dangerous or unpleasant situation.

      ‘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.’
      • ‘When he misled Downing Street, Campbell the gladiator was instrumental in throwing him to the lions.’
      • ‘She believes that David was treated roughly by those who threw him to the lions, with little advice or guidance.’
      • ‘Maybe Claudio would be better off breaking free from the Roman Empire before he is thrown to the lions.’
      • ‘The king wants you alive so he can throw you to the lions.’
      • ‘Whatever it was, suddenly she had been thrown to the lions.’
      • ‘If they'll agree not to throw us to the lions we promise not to provide any more fodder for bad movies.’
      • ‘‘The third,’ Reilly said, ‘are like Nero, who would throw us to the lions any chance they got.’’

Origin

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