A Lion’s Roar: Meaning and Origin Revealed

Written by Hannah Ward
Updated: October 10, 2023
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Lions are some of the most stunning animals in the world. They are immensely powerful and can emit a mighty roar that can be heard for miles around. “A lion’s roar” is just one of several phrases in the English language that mention lions, although you’re probably wondering what it means and how to use it correctly. Read on to discover the true meaning and origin of the idiom “a lion’s roar”!

Meaning of the Expression “A Lion’s Roar”

Roaring Male Lion with impressive Mane

The saying “a lion’s roar” references a powerful sound.


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Like an actual lion’s roar, the expression “a lion’s roar” refers to a powerful sound or an impressive and authoritative display. It is often used to describe someone who is making their presence known impressively. The expression evokes an impression of dominance and suggests that the person is someone who has a great influence and commands respect — someone who is a clear and commanding leader. The expression describes someone who knows exactly what they are doing and who is well-suited to their position as an authoritative figure. A person with a lion’s roar has no trouble being heard and getting their point across as they instantly gain the attention of everyone in their vicinity.

Origin of the Expression “A Lion’s Roar”

Male Lion, Kalahari, South Africa

The origins of the expression come from the actual roar of a lion — a powerful sound that can resonate for miles.


The origins of the expression “a lion’s roar” come from the natural behavior of lions, particularly the dominant male. Lions have a distinct vocalization — a roar — which is both unique and powerful. It is a deep sound that can reach 114 decibels and be heard from as much as five miles away.

Lions use their roar for several reasons, including the most obvious one which is communication. Lions use their roar to communicate with members of their own pride and with neighboring ones. It can be used to coordinate a hunt and to warn the pride about potential danger. However, it can also be used to issue a threat and to defend territory. Male lions also use their roar to attract a mate, to show dominance, and to establish their authority within their pride.

Lions are such breathtaking and powerful animals that their roar has become a symbol of the power that they display. It has captured our attention in such a way that it has found its way into our language as an expression of that power. The phrase can be used in several different contexts, but it always symbolizes the very things that lions are famous for.

Examples of Everyday Usage of “A Lion’s Roar”

As we mentioned earlier, the expression “a lion’s roar” is typically used to describe a powerful sound or impressive display, often a speech.

Examples of this phrase in everyday usage include:

  • The politician gave a speech with a lion’s roar.
  • The coach’s speech was a lion’s roar as he encouraged the players to give their all in the game.
  • During the presentation she let out a lion’s roar, making it clear to the room that she knew the way forward for the company.
  • The actor delivered his lines with a lion’s roar, enthralling the audience with his talented display.

Phrases Similar to “A Lion’s Roar”

There are several words and phrases that can be used to symbolize the same things as the “lion’s roar” expression does. Synonyms of “a lion’s roar” include:

  • A commanding presence: This phrase is often used to describe someone who is authoritative and powerful and who instantly commands the respect of everyone around them.
  • A fearless leader: Just like the dominant male lion will fiercely defend his pride and their territory, a fearless leader is someone who leads from the front and is willing to charge into battle (both literally and figuratively) to protect the things that they believe in.
  • A force to be reckoned with: Someone who is a force to be reckoned with is someone who is incredibly powerful and who should not be underestimated or challenged lightly.

Other Idioms Involving Lions


Other idioms that feature lions also refer to their courage and bravery.

©Adalbert Dragon/Shutterstock.com

“A lion’s roar” isn’t the only idiom that mentions lions. There are actually several other phrases and expressions that are based on the behavior and qualities that lions possess. Here are a few of the best-known examples:

  • The lion’s share: This phrase refers to the largest share of something and is based upon lions taking the biggest portion of a kill for themselves.
  • The heart of a lion: If someone is lion-hearted or has the heart of a lion then they are brave and fearless.
  • Fight like lions: Anyone who is fighting like a lion is engaged in some kind of fierce battle where they are putting up a brave and courageous performance.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Maggy Meyer/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Hannah is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on reptiles, marine life, mammals, and geography. Hannah has been writing and researching animals for four years alongside running her family farm. A resident of the UK, Hannah loves riding horses and creating short stories.

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