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August 11, 2012

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Q: Does the Hebrew word tannin refer to a dragon?

A: Dragon legends around the world have been prevalent for generations. Dragons are even mentioned in books of the Old Testament. But were they real creatures or just mythological? The Hebrew word תנין (tannin) has been translated in several ways, but it likely refers to both land and sea serpents or dragons. Determining the meaning of tannin requires a close look at the actual Hebrew word and a study of the various contexts in which it appears.

The word dinosaur refers strictly to land animals, but some people often label marine reptiles (e.g., plesiosaurs) and flying reptiles (e.g., pteranodons) as dinosaurs. Dinosaur is also a relatively new word, having been coined in 1841 by the famous British scientist Sir Richard Owen. Prior to this time, another word was used for large reptilian creatures: dragon. Answers in Genesis has often promoted the idea that many of the characteristics of historical (often considered mythological) dragons actually match those of certain dinosaurs.

See what the Bible says about dragons and delve into the related Hebrew words to find out what creatures they refer to.

Get Equipped

Get EquippedDinosaurs & Dragon Legends DVD

Featured in the Creation Museum, this collection of videos explores the concept of dinosaurs in the biblical record, the fossil record, and dragon stories from around the world. Discover some of the compelling evidence that man really did walk with dinosaurs!

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