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Li"on (l&ī;"ŭn), n. [F. lion, L. leo, -onis, akin to Gr. le`wn. Cf. Chameleon, Dandelion, Leopard.] 1. (Zo&ö;l.) A large carnivorous feline mammal (Panthera leo, formerly Felis leo), found in Southern Asia and in most parts of Africa, distinct varieties occurring in the different countries. The adult male, in most varieties, has a thick mane of long shaggy hair that adds to his apparent size, which is less than that of the largest tigers. The length, however, is sometimes eleven feet to the base of the tail. The color is a tawny yellow or yellowish brown; the mane is darker, and the terminal tuft of the tail is black. In one variety, called the maneless lion, the male has only a slight mane.
2. (Astron.) A sign and a constellation; Leo.
3. An object of interest and curiosity, especially a person who is so regarded; as, he was quite a lion in London at that time.
Such society was far more enjoyable than that of Edinburgh, for here he was not a lion, but a man. Prof. Wilson.
American lion (Zo&ö;l.), the puma or cougar. -- Lion ant (Zo&ö;l.), the ant-lion. -- Lion dog (Zo&ö;l.), a fancy dog with a flowing mane, usually clipped to resemble a lion's mane. -- Lion lizard (Zo&ö;l.), the basilisk. -- Lion's share, all, or nearly all; the best or largest part; -- from Æsop's fable of the lion hunting in company with certain smaller beasts, and appropriating to himself all the prey. -- Lion of Lucerne, a famous sculptured lion at Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Thorwaldsen and dedicated in 1821 as a memorial to the Swiss Guards who fell defending Louis XVI. in the attack of the mob on the Tuileries, Aug. 10, 1792. The animal, which is hewn out of the face of a rock, is represented as transfixed with a broken spear and dying, but still trying to protect with its paw a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of France. -- Lion of St. Mark, a winged lion, the emblem of the evangelist Mark, especially that of bronze surmounting a granite column in the Piazzetta at Venice, and holding in its fore paws an open book representing St. Mark's Gospel. -- Lion of the North, Gustavus Adolphus (1594-1632), King of Sweden, the hero of the Protestant faith in the Thirty Years' War.
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