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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

cattle-devouring aquatic monster in Celtic countries, from Celtic *abankos "water-creature," from *ab- "water" (cognates: Welsh afon, Breton aven "river," Latin amnis "stream, river," which is believed to be of Italo-Celtic origin).


The Afanc (, sometimes also called Addanc, ) is a lake monster from Welsh mythology. Its exact description varies; it is described variously as resembling a crocodile, beaver or dwarf-like creature, and is sometimes said to be a demon. The lake in which it dwells also varies; it is variously said to live in Llyn Llion, Llyn Barfog, near Brynberian Bridge or in Llyn yr Afanc, a lake near Betws-y-Coed that was named after the creature.

Afanc (Dungeons & Dragons)

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the afanc is a type of carnivorous sea creature.

Usage examples of "afanc".

Finning itself into a frenzy, the afanc began swimming in circles above the group.

As the humans whipped around the outer edges of the dancing whirlpool, the afanc swam in quick lunges and ripped them free in its jaws.

Out in the amphitheater, the afanc finished chasing down the stray bits of bodies left floating in the water.

Laa-queel had heard the afanc had learned to speak some human tongues and often lured sailors to their own deaths.

It was not unusual for these meetings to be held by the lakeside, rather than in the great hall of the Shadowleague headquarters, because the Afanc, who was Chief Loremaster for all water-dwellers, could not leave his watery habitat.

As the Afanc approached, hanging its head in embarrassment, he schooled his features to sobriety and nodded in greeting to the gigantic lake-dweller.

She looked thoughtfully at the herbivorous Afanc, her mandibles twitching.

Many were too large to fit comfortably in buildings constructed on a human scale, and others, such as the Afanc and other water-dwellers, were unable to leave their own element, though they could move from Upper to Lower waters, and indeed, to other lakes and waterways in Gendival, via a network of subterranean waterways carved out by the Gaeorn long ago.

Laaqueel had heard the afanc had learned to speak some human tongues and often lured sailors to their own deaths.

They gasped at the sight of the afanc, thrashing furiously now in the lake with its great neck bending to and fro.

The moment the Dark sensed she had told you, they must have come rushing, sending the afanc to shock you into giving up what she had said.

I thought of the afanc, a creature which some have supposed to be the harmless and industrious beaver, others the frightful and destructive crocodile.

I wondered whether the afanc was the crocodile or the beaver, and speedily had no doubt that the name was originally applied to the crocodile.

Is there not something horrible in the look and sound of the word afanc, something connected with the opening and shutting of immense jaws, and the swallowing of writhing prey?

Moreover, have we not the voice of tradition that the afanc was something monstrous?