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a large, usually tawny-yellow cat, Panthera leo, native to Africa and southern Asia, having a tufted tail and, in the male, a large mane.
any of various related large wildcats, as the cougar.
a man of great strength, courage, etc.
a person of great importance, influence, charm, etc., who is much admired as a celebrity:
a literary lion.
the lion as the national emblem of Great Britain.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy, Astrology. the constellation or sign of Leo.
(initial capital letter) a member of any one of the internationally affiliated service clubs (International Association of Lions Clubs) founded in 1917 and dedicated to promoting responsible citizenship, sound government, and community, national, and international welfare.

a silver, Anglo-Gallic denier, issued during the reign of Henry III, bearing the figure of a lion.
a gold coin of Scotland, issued c1400–1589, bearing the figure of a lion.
any of various other coins bearing the figure of a lion.
hardhead2 .

British. an object of interest or note.
beard the lion in its den, to confront or attack someone, especially a powerful or feared person, in that person’s own familiar surroundings.
twist the lion’s tail, to tax the patience of or provoke a person, group, nation, or government, especially that of Great Britain.
Contemporary Examples

After his prepared remarks, the president riffed his way through a question and answer session in the lion’s den.
Obama’s Plan to Split the GOP Richard Wolffe January 28, 2010

Indeed, lion Air, with 45 percent of the domestic Indonesian airline market, has swallowed the Fernandes formula whole.
Annoying Airport Delays Might Prevent You From Becoming the Next AirAsia 8501 Clive Irving January 5, 2015

The Magician King includes a storm scene modeled on the last scene in The lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
‘Harry Potter’ for Grown-Ups Jane Ciabattari August 9, 2011

In those games Ryan paced the sideline like a lion tamer without a chair.
The Jets: Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and Their Freak Show Season Allen Barra January 21, 2011

She was mauled by a 5-year-old 550-pound African lion named Cous Cous as she was cleaning his cage.
Tragedy in a Lion’s Lair: Sanctuary Intern Died Following Her Passion Christine Pelisek March 7, 2013

Historical Examples

But Thrax had raised the blade again, and charged the foe like a lion.
Quintus Claudius, Volume 2 of 2 Ernst Eckstein

It is a fool’s plan to teach a man to be a cur in peace, and think that he will be a lion in war.
The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle

The cue of the Chinaman is equally as acceptable as hairs from the mane of the English lion.
Buffalo Land W. E. Webb

The diversion occurred at the moment of the lion’s greatest tension.
The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White

Then also Man drank; and, when he had done drinking, lion came out of the bush.
South-African Folk-Tales James A. Honey

a large gregarious predatory feline mammal, Panthera leo, of open country in parts of Africa and India, having a tawny yellow coat and, in the male, a shaggy mane related adjective leonine
a conventionalized lion, the principal beast used as an emblem in heraldry. It has become the national emblem of Great Britain
a courageous, strong, or bellicose person
a celebrity or idol who attracts much publicity and a large following
beard the lion in his den, to approach a feared or influential person, esp in order to ask a favour
the lion’s share, the largest portion
the Lion, the constellation Leo, the fifth sign of the zodiac

late 12c., from Old French lion “lion,” figuratively “hero,” from Latin leonem (nominative leo) “lion; the constellation leo,” from Greek leon (genitive leontos), from a non-Indo-European language, perhaps Semitic (cf. Hebrew labhi “lion,” plural lebaim; Egyptian labai, lawai “lioness”).

A general Germanic borrowing from Latin (cf. Old English leo, Anglian lea; Old Frisian lawa; Middle Dutch leuwe, Dutch leeuw; Old High German lewo, German Löwe); it is found in most European languages, often via Germanic (cf. Old Church Slavonic livu, Polish lew, Czech lev, Old Irish leon, Welsh llew). Used figuratively from c.1200 in an approving sense, “one who is fiercely brave,” and a disapproving one, “tyrannical leader, greedy devourer.” Lion’s share “the greatest portion” is attested from 1701.
low energy ion and electron instrument
In addition to the idiom beginning with


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