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From Middle English griffoun, from Old French griffon, from Latin gryphus, from Ancient Greek γρύψ (grúps).



a griffin (1)

griffin (plural griffins)

  1. A mythical beast having the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle.
  2. (heraldry) A heraldic representation of such a beast used as a charge or as a supporter.
  3. A large vulture (Gyps fulvus) found in the mountainous parts of Southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor, supposed to be the "eagle" of the Bible. The bearded griffin is the lammergeier.
  4. An English variety of apple.
  5. (dated, India) A person who has just arrived from Europe.
    • 1842, The Asiatic journal and monthly register, volume 38, page 40:
      Tables were laid out in the palace, profusely covered with wines and refreshments, in the European style; old hands and griffins, fair sex and civilians, seemed all determined to enjoy themselves []
    (Can we find and add a quotation of H. Kingsley to this entry?)
  6. A cadet newly arrived in British India: half English, half Indian.[1]
  7. A watchful guardian, especially a duenna in charge of a young woman.

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