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Wolfman vs. Werewolf: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 2, 2023
Wolfman and werewolf both refer to a creature that is part human, part wolf, but "werewolf" often implies transformation based on folklore.

Key Differences

The term "wolfman" generally refers to a fictional character that possesses both human and lupine features, often depicted as a man with wolf-like traits that are constant. On the other hand, "werewolf" specifically refers to a person who transforms into a wolf or wolf-like creature, usually under the influence of a full moon, according to European folklore.
"Wolfman" can denote a stable hybrid creature without the implication of transformation. It is used in popular culture to describe a character that is a mixture of wolf and human, with the attributes of both, without necessarily the mystical or curse-related background. In contrast, "werewolf" carries a strong connotation of curse and involuntary transformation, linked with legends of lycanthropy where the transformation is cyclic and often uncontrollable.
In literature and film, "wolfman" characters may not adhere to the same rules that typically govern the behavior and abilities of a "werewolf." The former may be a result of genetic condition or experimentation, and their condition is not necessarily tied to the lunar cycle. Werewolves, conversely, are creatures of myth with specific lore such as vulnerability to silver bullets and the ability to infect others with their bite.
It’s also worth noting that the use of "wolfman" versus "werewolf" can depend on the context and the specific lore of the story being told. Some narratives may use "wolfman" as a colloquial term for "werewolf," while others may distinguish the two as separate entities with different origins and characteristics.
Ultimately, while "wolfman" can be seen as a broader, less folklore-bound term for a man with wolf-like qualities, "werewolf" is steeped in traditional mythology and implies a dual existence plagued by periodic and often violent transformation.

Comparison Chart


May not transform; often constant.
Transforms, typically under a full moon.


Can be genetic or experimental.
Often a curse or supernatural origin.


Less tied to specific lore.
Steeped in European folklore.


May be stable in behavior.
Behavior often linked to lunar cycle.

Cultural Depiction

A hybrid creature in various media.
Subject to traditional mythic rules.

Wolfman and Werewolf Definitions


A character often found in horror genres.
He dressed as a wolfman for Halloween.


A human cursed to lycanthropy in folklore.
The curse turned him into a werewolf every full moon.


A constant hybrid creature, not necessarily mythological.
In the story, a wolfman was the guardian of the forest.


A being from European legends, often feared.
Villagers whispered tales of a werewolf in the woods.


May refer to a person with exceedingly hirsute features.
They called him the wolfman due to his bushy beard.


A mythical creature that transforms into a wolf.
The werewolf howled at the full moon.


A non-transforming werewolf-like being in fiction.
The wolfman in the novel had superior strength.


A creature vulnerable to silver in mythology.
The hunter loaded a silver bullet to stop the werewolf.


A human with wolf-like characteristics.
The wolfman prowled the movie set.


Subject of numerous horror films and books.
She read a novel about a werewolf's plight.


A werewolf or lycanthrope.


A person believed to have been transformed into a wolf or to be capable of assuming the form of a wolf.


A monster able to change appearance from human to wolf


(mythology) A person who is transformed or can transform into a wolf or a wolflike human, often said to transform during a full moon. Category:en:Horror


Does a werewolf always need a full moon to transform?

Traditional lore often cites the full moon as a trigger for transformation, but variations exist in modern stories.

Is the concept of a wolfman based on folklore?

The wolfman, while inspired by similar creatures, is not as deeply rooted in specific folklore as the werewolf.

What is a werewolf?

A werewolf is a mythical creature from folklore that transforms from human to wolf, usually during a full moon.

Are wolfman and werewolf the same in horror movies?

They can be used interchangeably in some horror movies, but may have distinct origins and characteristics.

How can someone become a werewolf?

In mythology, becoming a werewolf is often the result of a curse or being bitten by another werewolf.

Do werewolves infect others with a bite?

According to legend, werewolves can pass on their affliction by biting humans.

Do wolfmen appear in global folklore?

Similar creatures to the wolfman appear in various cultures, but the term itself is more modern and Western.

Can a wolfman change into a human?

Typically, a wolfman is a constant hybrid and does not change form.

What triggers a werewolf's transformation?

Typically, it's the full moon, but some stories feature other triggers or voluntary transformation.

What is a wolfman?

A wolfman is a character with both human and wolf traits, often seen in horror genres.

Can wolfmen control their condition?

Depending on the story, wolfmen may or may not have control over their wolf-like traits.

Are werewolves always male?

No, both genders can be werewolves in myths and stories.

Is the wolfman a victim of a curse like the werewolf?

Not necessarily; a wolfman's condition may be portrayed as natural or scientific rather than a curse.

Do wolfmen have a role in literature?

Yes, wolfmen appear in literature, often in horror or fantasy genres.

Do wolfmen have supernatural powers?

In fiction, wolfmen may possess enhanced abilities, but they are not always supernatural.

What are the weaknesses of a werewolf?

In folklore, werewolves are often weak against silver and can be killed by a silver bullet.

Do all cultures have a version of the wolfman?

Many cultures have legends of human-animal hybrids, but they are not always equivalent to the wolfman.

Are werewolves part of modern popular culture?

Absolutely, werewolves are a popular subject in movies, books, and television shows.

Can a wolfman be killed by a silver bullet?

Traditional lore does not usually associate wolfmen with the same weaknesses as werewolves, like silver.

Is lycanthropy associated with wolfmen?

Lycanthropy is specifically the transformation into a wolf, so it's more closely associated with werewolves.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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