Word of the Week: Lycanthrope

Jack Coles explains this week's wicked word

31st October 2016

The word “lycanthrope” is a combination of the ancient Greek words “lykos” (wolf) and “anthropos” (man). A lycanthrope is usually defined as a person who is cursed to transform into a wolf, either at will, or when a particular set of circumstances are met (such as a full moon). It is sometimes given a broader definition to accommodate other cursed shapeshifters, such as werebears and weretigers. Werewolf legends exist throughout Europe, whereas weretigers are predominantly East Asian. Werebears also feature as monsters in some games, particularly those with a Norse theme. There exist some real-life diseases which can appear to be lycanthropic in nature. Hypertrichosis is a condition where hair grows abnormally thick across all or parts of the body, giving a werewolf-like appearance, while some forms of schizophrenia can result in someone believing they are a beast for some time.

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