Definition of dire wolf in English:

dire wolf


  • A large extinct wolf of the Pleistocene epoch, which preyed on large mammals.

    Canis dirus, family Canidae

    • ‘Against the blue of a mountain range - the same profile of peaks I could see from Grandview - were vultures, mammoths, dire wolves, La Brea camels, saber-toothed cats, and giant ground sloths.’
    • ‘The figures at the top left and bottom right are dire wolves, extinct relatives of wolves and dogs.’
    • ‘It is likely that the bone-modifying behaviors of dire wolves were intermediate between those of extant wolves and spotted hyenas.’
    • ‘Among this group, the extinct dire wolf (a giant relative of living wolves) claimed the most powerful bite force relative to its size.’
    • ‘In the Pleistocene, gray wolves shared the region with C. dirus, the dire wolf.’


Dire in the sense ‘threatening’, translating the modern Latin taxonomic name.