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Werewolf Myths and Legends

The legend of the werewolf is one of the most ancient and wide spread. Stories of werewolves can be found as far back as history has been written. These shape-shifter myths can be found all over the word from China to Iceland and Brazil to Haiti.

The name Werewolf most likely derives from Old English wer (or were) and wulf. The first part, wer, translates as "man" (in the sense of male human, not the race of humanity). It has cognates in several Germanic languages including Gothic wair, Old High German wer and Old Norse var, as well as in other Indo-European languages, such as Latin vir, Lithuanian vyras and Welsh gwr, which have the same meaning.

The second half, wulf, is the ancestor of modern English "wolf"; in some cases it also had the general meaning "beast". An alternative etymology derives the first part from Old English weri (to wear); the full form in this case would be glossed as wearer of wolf skin.