Raised By Wolves: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 24, 2023

People say someone is "raised by wolves" to describe a person who has grown up without proper guidance or social norms, resulting in behavior that is considered uncivilized or wild. This can be due to a lack of parental care, isolation from society, or even being raised in an environment where such behavior is encouraged. It can also refer to someone who was actually raised by wolves or other wild animals, either in reality or in fiction.

In short:

  • "Raised by wolves" alludes to someone exhibiting uncivilized or undisciplined behavior.
  • It draws on the idea of having grown up without societal norms or manners typically taught by human parents.

What Does "Raised by Wolves" Mean?

The term “raised by wolves” typically describes someone who behaves in a way that's considered uncivilized, unsophisticated, or lacking in social graces. The phrase paints a picture of a person who, rather than being brought up in a regular human household, was instead nurtured in the wild by wolves, therefore not receiving the usual training in societal norms and manners.

Let's dive deeper into its connotations and applications:

  • "Raised by wolves" usually refers to someone who displays behaviors not in line with standard societal norms.
    • For instance, eating with hands instead of using cutlery, speaking loudly, and interrupting others during a conversation.
  • This phrase indicates that the person in question hasn't been taught social etiquette or appropriate behavior, leading to their 'wild' or 'unruly' actions.
  • While the phrase is generally used in a disapproving manner, it can also occasionally imply a sense of rugged independence or resilience, drawing on the tenacious survival skills associated with wolves.
  • Phrases similar to "raised by wolves" include "lacks manners," "uncouth," or "lacks social grace."

Where Does "Raised by Wolves" Come From?

The idiom "raised by wolves" likely stems from ancient myths and legends where wolves or other wild animals nurture children. Perhaps the most famous story is that of Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome, who were supposedly suckled and raised by a she-wolf.

Historical Example

"If you de-school society as Ivan Illych wants to, there will be no improvement and the children will be little better than those raised by wolves."

- Cincinnati Magazine, Jun 1977

10 Examples of "Raised by Wolves" in Sentences

For a clearer understanding of this idiom's use, let's dive into some examples:

  • After a fall from grace, it felt like he was raised by wolves, having to learn the basics of survival again
  • His lack of social grace is so apparent it's as if he was raised by wolves his entire life.
  • As you would expect from someone raised by wolves, he doesn't easily concur with the norms of society.
  • Happy days are rare for the man who seems like wolves raised him.
  • They ignored all the rules at the library, acting like they were raised by wolves.
  • She was wound tight as if she was raised by wolves and always had to be alert.
  • Raised by wolves, he had a rough exterior but a heart of gold.
  • Time seemed to fly by in the wild, especially for those raised by wolves.
  • He was too bougee for her; she preferred someone who was raised by wolves and had some edge.

Examples of "Raised by Wolves" in Pop Culture

The phrase "raised by wolves" often appears in pop culture, frequently symbolizing characters who don't fit societal norms.

Let's look at some examples:

  • "Raised by Wolves" is a song by U2. The lyrics include: "Face down on a broken street / There's a man in the corner in a pool of misery / I'm in a white van / As a red sea covers the ground..."
  • "Raised by Wolves" is also a song by Falling in Reverse. The lyrics go: "Raised by wolves / Stronger than fear / Raised by wolves / We were raised by wolves..."
  • "Raised by Wolves" is a science fiction series created by Aaron Guzikowski and launched under the directorial eye of Ridley Scott.
  • The phrase "raised by wolves" is used in a review of the movie "The Jungle Book": "They hunt. They kill. It's why I never bought into "The Jungle Book." Boy is raised by wolves and becomes friends with a bear and a panther. I don't think so..."

Other/Different Ways to Say "Raised by Wolves"

Various expressions and phrases convey a similar sentiment to "raised by wolves."

Here are some examples:

  • Lacks manners
  • Unsocialized
  • Wild or uncivilized
  • Doesn't know the first thing about etiquette
  • Doesn't know how to behave in society
  • Uncouth or crude
  • Rough around the edges
  • Barbaric in manners
  • Lacks social graces
  • Boorish or coarse

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Raised by Wolves":

  • What does "raised by wolves" mean?

"Raised by wolves" is an idiomatic expression often used to describe someone who behaves in a manner that is considered uncivilized or socially unacceptable, as if they had been brought up by wild animals instead of human society.

  • How can I use "raised by wolves" in a sentence?

The phrase "raised by wolves" can be used to express disapproval of someone's behavior. For instance, "His manners are scrud, making it seem as though he was raised by wolves."

  • Where does the idiom "raised by wolves" come from?

The phrase "raised by wolves" likely draws from ancient myths and legends, particularly stories like that of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, who were said to have been raised by a she-wolf.

  • Is "raised by wolves" often used humorously or seriously?

While the phrase "raised by wolves" can be used in both contexts, it's more commonly used humorously to lightly criticize someone's manners or social etiquette.

  • Can "raised by wolves" be used to compliment someone?

Generally, "raised by wolves" is used in a more critical or negative context. However, it could be used in a positive or complimentary way to highlight someone's independence, resilience, or unconventional behavior.

  • Is the phrase "raised by wolves" commonly understood?

While the phrase is widely understood in English-speaking cultures, it may not be as clear to non-native speakers or cultures with different idiomatic expressions.

  • What can I use as an alternative to "raised by wolves"?

Similar expressions to "raised by wolves" include "lacks manners," "uncivilized," or "lacks social graces."

  • Are there other cultural references to being "raised by wolves"?

Yes, the concept of being "raised by wolves" appears in various media, including films, TV shows, and music. It often represents characters who are outsiders or don't follow societal norms.

  • Does "raised by wolves" refer only to individuals?

The phrase is primarily used to describe individuals, but it can also be used more broadly to describe a group of people who display a lack of manners or social etiquette.

  • Is "raised by wolves" used globally?

The phrase "raised by wolves" is widely used and understood in English-speaking countries. However, its usage and understanding might differ in other cultures and languages.

Final Thoughts About "Raised by Wolves"

"Raised by wolves" is a colorful idiom that underscores the importance of societal norms and manners in shaping our behaviors. The phrase might sound harsh, but it's often used humorously to call out socially unacceptable behavior.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "Raised by wolves" typically refers to someone's lack of social manners or civilized behavior, as if wild animals rather than humans brought them up.
  • The phrase can be used humorously or seriously, depending on the context and the individual's behavior in question.
  • It is widely understood in English-speaking countries but might not be as clear to non-native English speakers or cultures with different idiomatic expressions.

In a world that values social norms and etiquette, the phrase "raised by wolves" serves as a stark reminder of the importance of proper behavior. While it might be used to criticize, it can also highlight the beauty of unconventionality and the spirit of resilience that often accompanies it.

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