The aim of this paper is to show how a study of language patterns may benefit research on people's attitudes to predators and their acceptance of change. Frequently used expressions in several European languages containing the words for wolf, lynx and bear are analysed. Of these three animals the wolf is the one associated with the most numerous, complex and negative range of expressions, whereas the lynx is hardly present in these languages and the bear is portrayed in a less negative way. This fits in with the findings from research on acceptance of these animals reported in other papers in this volume. A different linguistic approach is used to analyse a recent discussion about the wolf in the Swiss parliament where again it is evident that the lynx meets with better acceptance than the wolf. Finally, suggestions are made for using such linguistic analyses to feed into attitude research and public information campaigns to promote the acceptance of these animals.