One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A dog of any of several terrier-like breeds originating in north-western Europe.
- ‘In France the wirehaired pointing griffon and the Brittany were bred for similar motives, as was the Vizsla in Hungary.’
- 1.1 A dog of a toy breed with a flat face and upturned chin.
- ‘The Brussels griffon seems to have descended from a dog used by 17th-century Belgian peasants to rid their stables of rats.’
- ‘According to the AKC, the oft-maligned Toy group is making a comeback of sorts: The registration list's biggest climbers these days are the Chinese crested and the Brussels griffon.’
2A large Old World vulture with predominantly pale brown plumage.
Genus Gyps, family Accipitridae: four species, in particular the Eurasian G. fulvus and the African Ruppell's griffon (G. ruepelli)
- ‘Dozens of griffon vultures with wingspans of up to 2.80 metres were spotted in the south of the Netherlands on Monday.’
- ‘There is also plenty of birdlife up here, and there are frequent sightings of griffon vultures.’
- ‘The griffon vulture is quite common in Crete.’
- ‘For birdwatchers, several hundred species call India home, including the rare narcondum hornbill, megapode, and griffon vulture.’
- ‘When we had the opportunity to add five Cape griffon vultures to the pair we already had, we decided to try them in the large aviary.’
Middle English (in griffon (sense 2)): variant of griffin; griffon (sense 1) was adopted from French in the 18th century.
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