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In folklore and fantasy fiction, were- is often used as a prefix applied to an animal name to indicate a type of lycanthropy and/or shapeshifter (e.g. "were-boar"). Hyphenation used to be mandatory but is now commonly dropped, as in werecat and wererat. This usage can be seen as a back-formation from werewolf (literally, "man-wolf"), as there is no equivalent wifewolf.