A fox is an animal belonging to any one of about 27 species (only of which 12 actually belong to the Vulpes genus, or 'true foxes') of small to medium-sized canids, characterized by possessing a long, narrow snout, and a bushy tail, or "brush". By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), although various species are found on almost every continent. The presence of fox-like carnivores all over the globe has led to their appearance in the popular culture and folklore of many nations, tribes, and other cultural groups (see Foxes in culture).
The Modern English "fox" is derived from Old English fox. The Old English word itself comes from the Proto-Germanic word fukh – compare German Fuchs, Gothic fauho, Old Norse foa and Dutch vos. It corresponds to the Proto-Indo-European word puk- meaning "tail" (compare Sanskrit puccha, also "tail"). The bushy tail is also the source of the word for fox in Welsh: llwynog, from llwyn, "bush, grove" therefore often assumed that it means 'fox', although this meaning was known to be the compiler of the Peniarth GlossesLithuanian: uodegis, from uodega, "tail", and Portuguese: raposa, from rabo, "tail".