raised by wolves: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘raised by wolves’ mean?

"Raised by wolves" is an idiom that means someone has been brought up in a wild or untamed manner, lacking social skills or civilized behavior.

Idiom Explorer

Wild Origins

The idiom "raised by wolves" is a commonly used phrase in the English language. It refers to someone who has been brought up in a wild or uncivilized manner, lacking proper social skills or etiquette.

One interpretation of the idiom suggests that it may have originated from ancient folklore or mythology, where stories of children being raised by animals, such as wolves, were often told. The concept of being "raised by wolves" therefore became synonymous with a lack of civilization, refinement, or adherence to societal norms.

In a more contemporary sense, the idiom is often used to describe individuals who have had unconventional upbringings or have been isolated from mainstream society.

Furthermore, "raised by wolves" can also be employed in a humorous or metaphorical manner. It may be used to describe someone who has a remarkably independent or self-sufficient nature, displaying traits typically associated with wild animals.

While the idiom "raised by wolves" has become a commonly used phrase, it is primarily intended to convey a figurative meaning rather than a literal one. The expression serves as a concise way to describe individuals who deviate from societal expectations.

Raised by wolves, his feral instincts ensured survival.

One related idiom is "throw to the wolves." This phrase is often used to describe a situation in which someone is deliberately put into a difficult or dangerous position. It can be seen as an extension of the idea of being "raised by wolves," as it implies a lack of protection or support.

Another related idiom is "run wild." This expression is used to describe someone who behaves or acts without restraint or control. It suggests a similar lack of socialization or adherence to societal norms as being "raised by wolves."

A third idiom related to "raised by wolves" is "roughen up." This phrase is used to describe the process of toughening or hardening someone, often through challenging or adverse experiences. It touches on the idea of survival and adaptability that is associated with being "raised by wolves."

The phrase "rotten egg" is another idiom that can be linked to "raised by wolves." It is often used to describe someone who is disliked or considered unpleasant. This could be due to their unconventional behavior or lack of social skills, similar to those who have been "raised by wolves."

The final related idiom is "raise someone's hackles." This expression is used to describe a feeling of irritation or anger, often caused by someone's behavior or comments. It can be seen as a reaction to the unconventional or untamed behavior associated with being "raised by wolves."

Overall, the idiom "raised by wolves" signifies an unconventional upbringing or unique personal qualities. While its exact origin remains uncertain, the idiom draws on ancient folklore and mythology, as well as contemporary understandings of human development and societal norms. Thus, it continues to serve as a vivid metaphor for those who defy conventional expectations, highlighting the complexities of human nature and the diverse paths of individual experience.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "raised by wolves" can be used in a sentence:

  • She was so independent and self-sufficient, it was as if she had been raised by wolves.
  • After growing up on the streets, he had the survival skills of someone who had been raised by wolves.
  • The park ranger found a lost child in the forest who seemed to have been raised by wolves.

The idiom "raised by wolves" is often used figuratively to describe someone who has grown up in a wild or untamed environment, lacking traditional socialization or upbringing. It conveys a sense of independence, self-reliance, and resourcefulness.

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