• enPR: hī-ēʹnə, IPA: /haɪˈiːnə/

hyena (plural hyenas)

  1. Any of the medium-sized to large feliform carnivores of the subfamily Hyaeninae (genera Hyaena and Crocuta), native to Africa and Asia and noted for the sound similar to laughter which they can make if excited.
    • 2003, Anne Engh, Kay E. Holekamp, Case Study 5A: Maternal Rank "Inheritance" in the Spotted Hyena, Frans B. M. De Waal, Peter L Tyack (editors), Animal Social Complexity: Intelligence, Culture, and Individualized Societies, page 149 ↗,
      Hyena biologists often think of spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) as baboons with big teeth and relatively small brains.
  2. (Sub-Saharan Africa) A man that performs ritualized sex acts with recently widowed women and menarchal girls.
    • see

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