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A person that turns into a wolf is a werewolf. It doesn’t take a genius to suspect that were must be some kind of root meaning person. If you are familiar with other fantasy tropes such as werebears or weretigers (that is, if you ever played Dungeons & Dragons), this suspicion will be stronger.

But just in case you werent sure, here I am to tell you that wer(e) was an Old English word meaning “man”, from Proto Indo-European *wiHrós, which also gave us virility through Latin vir (meaning “man”, yes).

It was apparently used in alliterations such as “were and wife”, which raises the question: should, then, my female orc barbarian be called a wifewolf? I’ll consult my Dungeon Master and get back at you.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Originally published in The blind mouse.

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