The wild man (also wildman, or "wildman of the woods", archaically woodwose or wodewose) is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe, comparable to the satyr or faun type in classical mythology and to Silvanus, the Roman god of the woodlands. In Etruscan mythology, Selvans was god of the woodlands, cognate with Roman Silvanus.

The first element of woodwose is usually explained as from wudu "wood", "forest". The second element is less clear. It has been identified as a hypothetical noun *wāsa "being", from the verb wesan, wosan "to be", "to be alive".
It may also mean a forlorn or abandoned person, cognate with the German "Waise" and Dutch "wees" which both mean "orphan."