What is a Werewolf?

What is a werewolf? It seems like such a ridiculous question to ask, however, it’s been a topic of debate on this site for years. It seems that everyone has a different opinion when it comes to what a werewolf is. If you break it down to simple word examination werewolf translates to “man wolf” since “were” means “man.” But it’s more complicated than that, isn’t it? For some, yes. For me, no.

woodswerewolfPersonally, I feel that a werewolf is a man or woman who can transform into a wolf or wolf-like creature. Simple. That is the base of what a werewolf is – the ability to transform into a wolf. There is no right or wrong werewolf, it simply needs to follow that one rule and that rule is changing into a wolf or wolf-like creature. That’s how I see it, but others disagree and have countless rules and regulations when it comes to what a werewolf is “supposed to be.” Like, a werewolf has to be scary, a werewolf has to be evil, a werewolf has no emotions… etc. I think that’s all nonsense. To me a werewolf is someone who transforms into a beast.

But what do you think? Are you one of those people who feel that a werewolf has to be something specific? That there is a right and wrong kind of werewolf?

Here are a few questions for you to consider:

Are werewolves good or evil?

What does a werewolf look like?

How does a werewolf behave (mindless monster, intelligent, wolf/pack-like)?

Are werewolves killers?

And so on.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong werewolf. A werewolf can look however it wants as long as you can see wolf in it (it’s not a werewolf if it doesn’t have wolf in it). A werewolf can act any way it wants – good or bad. A werewolf is whatever the storyteller wants it to be.

What do you think?

– Moonlight

About the Author
Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to werewolves and other supernatural beasties. She writes for top genre sites like Vampires.com and Werewolves.com. You will most likely find her huddled over a book with coffee in hand. You can stalk her via her Twitter.

By moonlight

One of the writers for werewolves.com, as well as vampires.com.


  1. I agree with you, Moonlight. Werewolves don’t *HAVE* to be anything, I don’t believe they have to fall into any sort of criteria to be classified as a werewolf. Although, I’m sure we personally all have our favourite werewolf ‘types’.

    I once read an excellent book, a long time ago, which had multiple kinds of werewolves. The ‘purebred’ werewolves were more powerful and were bipeds, but the drawback is they had no recollection of being these creatures, and their transformations were controlled by hormone and chemical changes within their body (nothing to do with the moon; things like emotion and stuff). They were violent solitary beasts.
    There were a few tiers, but the ‘lesser werewolves’ looked just like regular wolves. They were basically people in wolves’ bodies (with the same social structure one would expect within a wolf pack). But the drawback, is that once they transformed enough times (transformation was based on weather, I think?), they forgot they were still human and lived as wolves until they were shot/etc.

  2. Werewolves are feared creatures therefore they’re evil. In my opinion, lycantrophy is a curs, not a gift. When transformed they are hybrid (half man half wolf). They act like a mindless beasts that can’t control themselves. When human they are just like anybody and live on a farm with their family. They fear the full moon cause that’s when they will transform and hunt the country side…

  3. Werewolves are those who have the power of a wolf but the the nature of a human. The original I believe were thought to be those who transformed fully into wolves. This is not “lesser” but the original.
    But they can be however you wish and literature and movies are filled with their take and then on a more “real” level you have those who believe they are wolves or transform mentally. However in my experience most are not very close to an actual wolf in nature but more how people perceive wolves or werewolves to be based on what they have read in stories as well as what attracts them to the werewolf mythos. But i think my original statement stand as the essence of them no mstter how you perceive tjem to be. Note I mean no offence to any hear who may take issue with anything here it is just my opinion based on ny experience.

  4. Having read numerous books and internet sources on the subject of Werewolves and what is or isn’t a werewolf. I will agree that the most basic, simple answer is as Moonlight puts it, the ability to change into a wolf or a wolf-like/hybrid creature.

    After that, it becomes very complicated as the image of the werewolf is still locked in by early Christian notions of being a mindless, souless killing machine and servant of the devil. Curse and/or disease. Even mental illness.

    Our current pop culture take on Werewolves still tends to be heavilly influenced by this and by the classic black & white Lon Chaney Jr. The Wolfman movie of curse, full moon, bitten by a werewolf, turn into one, silver bullets kill it.

    Many authors today will do variations on these themes and some try to break it all together or introduce, re-introduce and go back to possible, older shamanic traditions of animal transformation, animal spirit possession and totem spirit.

    I do appreciate the authors who see a werewolf as more than a simple killing machine, who go for “if the person is bad, than the wolf is bad.” and that there is control on transformation and the ability to remember what happens.

    Putting down that really, who’s your source on what is or isn’t evil? The Catholic Church/Any Christian Church that demonizes any and everything that doesn’t fit their ideologies and “isn’t in the bible.”

    Now I’m not looking to start a religious war or flaming. But I’m trying to point out that fundamentalists can get very narrow minded and one sided in their views and unable or unwilling to see the other side.

  5. i think a werewolf is a person that has been bitten or born with the wolf and that they are both good and bad becouse there is good and bad in us all also i think a werewolf has too have the sences of the wolf like the long sight smell hearing feeling and taste of the wolf how ever does not need to be a full wolf but have the look ans claws of it

  6. I think of werewolves mostly in the simple manor that moonlight described, though i usually like to think that the werewolf would have control over their transformation and be able to think as a human while they do it. I like the possibility of large amounts of diversity among werewolves to put it simply. The idea that they have to be evil i think is not entirely a bad idea but i think their could be good ones or werewolves somewhere in between depending on the personality of the werewolf.

    1. Who knows if they exists they would surely keep their existence a secret and live and work amongst humans and we would never know so I guess it will always be a secret unless they reveal themselves to someone. I would love to meet one.

  7. Werewolves are immortal creatures who appear human but transform into wolf/man hybrids with the combind intelligence and instincts of a wolf and human. There personality heavily weighs in whether there evil or not once they got a hold of their transformation.

  8. Well wat I think that a werewolf is a significant creature and there are no with them an the devil I believe we could pray to God do a non santic spell something not all werewolves relate to the devils army NO they are different they are really not like that an if you want a non santic spell I suggest half animal spell by ender he has a bad picture but I looked it up its not evil trust me :)

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