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Figurative animal-adjectives

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January 03, 2010, 19:42
Figurative animal-adjectives
Taking our last theme of "Animal Words", we put a new twist on it for our new theme.

We're familiar with the terms feline and canine, referring to cats and dogs, and there are similar terms referring to other animals. Bovine and equine (cows and horses) are reasonably familiar, and Wordcraft has previously presented several others, like leonine (lion), ursine (bear) and pavonine (peacock, or "with the iridescence of a peacock's tail").

This week we'll present more of this sort, all of them obscure but not ridiculously so, and all of them suitable for figurative use to describe a person. In short, many of them would make an excellent, high-class insult.

ovine – of or like sheep

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January 04, 2010, 19:29
vulpine – like a foxBonus word:
– an oily, perfumed hair dressing
January 07, 2010, 09:09
Two bird-adjectives, one complimentary, the other decidedly not.

aquiline – of or like an eagleanserine – of or like a gooseBonus word:
1. a widow with title or property from her late husband; hence, 2. a dignified elderly woman
[related to dowry and endow. In other words, a well-endowed woman? Wink]
January 07, 2010, 10:33
Is a well-endowed woman one whose assets precede her? Does her endowment make her man want to cleave(age) to her?

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
January 09, 2010, 08:34
CW, see note below. Wink
January 09, 2010, 08:36
We’ve previously seen the word waspish, used figuratively for “sharp tongued”. (A nice bit of Shakespeare, that.) Here is its more formal form, and two distinct figurative uses.

vespine – of or like a waspI hope you’ll enjoy these two classic, Christmas-time pieces showcasing a vespine (waspish) waist.

(Proving that notwithstanding Caterwauller's ample-example above, sometimes "less" is more! Wink )
January 09, 2010, 08:53
Robert Arvanitis
Let's not forget the Italian classic:


January 10, 2010, 17:28
ophidian – like a snake

Imagine a reader enjoying the novel we quote, and coming across the quoted sentence. If he knows today’s word, the description is positively bone-chilling.
January 10, 2010, 18:29
Would be worse if his tongue was ophidian.

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Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
January 12, 2010, 06:10
I thought Ophidian was of or about the Greek poet, Ophid. Confused Confused Confused

Oh, I see I'm wrong - ophids are those garden pests that ladybugs eat.

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It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti