Hy*e"na (?), n.; pl. Hyenas (#). [L. hyaena, Gr. , orig., a sow, but usually, a Libyan wild beast, prob., the hyena, fr. hog: cf. F. hyene. See Sow female hog.] Zool.

Any carnivorous mammal of the family Hyaenidae, of which three living species are known. They are large and strong, but cowardly. They feed chiefly on carrion, and are nocturnal in their habits.

[Written also hyaena.]

⇒ The striped hyena (Hyaena striata) inhabits Southern Asia and a large part of Africa. The brown hyena (H. brunnea), and the spotted hyena (Crocuta maculata), are found in Southern Africa. The extinct cave hyena (H. spelaea) inhabited England and France.

Cave hyena. See under Cave. -- Hyena dog Zool., a South African canine animal (Lycaon venaticus), which hunts in packs, chiefly at night. It is smaller than the common wolf, with very large, erect ears, and a bushy tail. Its color is reddish or yellowish brown, blotched with black and white. Called also hunting dog.


© Webster 1913.