One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A mythical creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, typically depicted with pointed ears and with the eagle's legs taking the place of the forelegs.
- ‘Four heraldic beasts - two stags, a lion and a griffin - stand guard at a stone staircase opposite the coffin.’
- ‘She fingered the intricate carvings of a dragon battling a gryphon.’
- ‘The pieces, which depict attack scenes between lions, bulls, and griffins, are distinguished by the trefoil rendering of the ears and the braided pattern of the hair along the body contours of the lions.’
- ‘An image of a griffin - which has the head and wings of an eagle, and the body of a lion-was duly sown on the club's purple guernseys.’
- ‘A formidable creature half lion, half eagle, the griffin is said to be one thousand times stronger than any lion and five thousand times as farsighted as an eagle.’
Middle English: from Old French grifoun, based on late Latin gryphus, via Latin from Greek grups, grup-.
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