Definition of mastiff in English:

mastiff

noun

  • A dog of a large, strong breed with drooping ears and pendulous lips.

    • ‘The white villa was surrounded by a high spiked wall and a pack of mastiffs patrolled the grounds.’
    • ‘The adjacent moat was found to contain the well preserved skulls of two lions and a leopard, and dog skulls - possibly mastiffs used for baiting - which were dated to between the 14th and 17th centuries.’
    • ‘More than 4,000 years ago, the ancient Assyrians, Persians, and Babylonians used mastiffs wearing spiked collars to attack their enemies.’
    • ‘It is said that what the lion is to the cat, the mastiff is to the dog.’
    • ‘The various beissers were descended from mastiffs, which were themselves descended from a dog called the Molossian.’
    • ‘A fearsome Tibetan mastiff stands guard outside a dwelling while a smaller dog is ready to sound the alarm indoors if anyone is clever enough or lucky enough to slip past the mastiff.’
    • ‘The owner of the mastiff digs in and tries to drag his dog over to us to have a chat.’
    • ‘Towns urged residents to purchase hounds and mastiffs and train them to hunt wolves.’
    • ‘The two dogs were cross-breeds of a mastiff and bull terrier and were kept, presumably as pets, by a woman with very young children.’
    • ‘News of the fatal attack has prompted enquiries from prospective owners to kennels that raise the dogs, which were originally bred from cattle dogs, mastiffs and bulldogs brought to the Canary Islands by British settlers.’
    • ‘The superdogs, which have been seen in packs as large as 16, are crosses between native dingos and Rottweilers and mastiffs, the latter two well known for their strength and aggression.’
    • ‘In the 16th century, English mastiffs were famous for their courage and ferocity as war dogs, and were used in Spanish armies both in Europe and America.’
    • ‘Joining all-time favourites Labradors and German shepherds are the golden retriever, Rottweiler and English mastiff.’
    • ‘‘They were like tied mastiffs newly loosed,’ one minister remarked of his mainly Royalist congregation who had discovered a sudden hatred for all things Puritan.’
    • ‘If a peasant wanted to leave the county, he had to pay a toll on one of my bridges and had to be back before night-fall, lest my feared mastiffs track him down and tear him limb-from-limb.’
    • ‘Three large mastiffs rush into the room, snarling.’
    • ‘The presa canario - a cross of the bardino majero, an extinct Spanish breed, and the English mastiff - is typical of dogs engineered to fight other animals.’
    • ‘The Himalayan mastiff is a much bigger dog, a loveable-looking animal on the lines of the Great Pyrenees.’
    • ‘Large packs of black matted mastiffs prowl the streets for scraps, occasionally breaking into fights of heart-stopping ferocity.’
    • ‘Others claim the bulldog resulted from the crosses between mastiffs and Dutch pug dogs.’

Origin

Middle English: obscurely representing Old French mastin, based on Latin mansuetus tame.

Pronunciation:

mastiff

/ˈmastəf/