Wolf English, Danish, and German: from a short form of the various Germanic compound names with a first element wolf ‘wolf’, or a byname or nickname with this meaning. The wolf was native throughout the forests of Europe, including Britain, until comparatively recently. In ancient and medieval times it played an important role in Germanic mythology, being regarded as one of the sacred beasts of Woden. This name is widespread throughout northern, central, and eastern Europe, as well as in Britain and German-speaking countries. German: habitational name for someone living at a house distinguished by the sign of a wolf, Middle High German wolf. Jewish (Ashkenazic): from the Yiddish male personal name Volf meaning ‘wolf’, which is associated with the Hebrew personal name Binyamin (see Benjamin). This association stems from Jacob’s dying words ‘Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil’ (Genesis 49:27). Irish: variant spelling of Woulfe.