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  #1  
Old 04-27-2008, 10:38 PM
RickJay RickJay is online now
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Do All Animals Get An Adjective? (e.g. feline, bovine, canine...)

Many animals have an adjective attached to them that means "like this animal." For instance, if someone exhibited a grace you would associate with a cat, you might call it "feline." A man of extremely impressive size and bearing might be said to "have an almost ursine appearance," meaning he's a lot like a bear. I know these ones:

Cats - Feline
Dogs - Canine
Bears - Ursine
Cattle - Bovine
Sheep - Ovine
Horses - Equine
Foxes - Vulpine
Wolves - Lupine
Monkeys - Simian (not sure why it's a different form)

My question is, do ALL types of animal have an adjective form? Is there a word like this for, say, snails, or are you stuck just calling them "snail-like"?
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2008, 10:49 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Monkeys - Simian (not sure why it's a different form)\
Simian means ape, not monkey.

As for the other examples you've given, those are the Anglicized versions of the Latinate taxonomic mammalian classification. Most are families, but some are not. Snails would be Gastropods (from Gastropoda).
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  #3  
Old 04-27-2008, 11:40 PM
Gary T Gary T is online now
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If you put the ones you know into Google's search window, you can find lists like this:

aquiline - eagle
assinine - donkey
bovine - cattle
cancrine - crab
canine - dog
cervine - deer
corvine - crow
equine - horse
elapine - snake
elaphine - deer
feline - cat
hircine - goat
leonine - lion
leporine - rabbit, hare
lupine - wolf
murine - rodent
pavonine - peacock
piscine - fish
porcine - pig
rusine - deer
serpentine - snake
ursine - bear
vulpine - fox
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  #4  
Old 04-27-2008, 11:47 PM
Askance Askance is offline
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Not to forget:

turdine - thrush
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2008, 12:46 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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It's probably legitimate to coin such words based on the genitive form of the genus name. Most of the ones on Rick's and Gary's lists are formed in that way, e.g., Bos -> bovis -> bovine; Elephas -> elephantis -> elephantine. I know "hominine" is quote often used in paleoanthropology to mean "of or relating to one of the forms in the human ancestral line (and offshoots)." So "tachyglossine" would mean "characteristic of echidnas"; "macropodine" would signify "characteristic of kangaroos"; "struthionine" likewise "of ostriches."
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2008, 01:49 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T
assinine - donkey
Really? Boy, the donkey sure gets it in the... well, you know.
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  #7  
Old 04-28-2008, 06:53 AM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
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It's asinine. So nothing to do with... you know.
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2008, 07:29 AM
Meurglys Meurglys is offline
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My father was asking a couple of months ago what the term for ducks would be...?
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2008, 07:41 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meurglys
My father was asking a couple of months ago what the term for ducks would be...?
Anatine, for ducks in general, I believe
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2008, 08:27 AM
Meurglys Meurglys is offline
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Thanks a lot!
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2008, 08:38 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
My question is, do ALL types of animal have an adjective form?
Define "type". For certain definitions, the answer is no, of course not. There are probably millions of animal species, subspecies, breeds, etc.; surely they can't all have their own unique adjectives. I doubt there are different adjectives for African and Indian elephants, for example. Even some more general taxons probably don't have their own adjectives, at least in common parlance.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:36 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychonaut
Define "type". For certain definitions, the answer is no, of course not. There are probably millions of animal species, subspecies, breeds, etc.; surely they can't all have their own unique adjectives. I doubt there are different adjectives for African and Indian elephants, for example. Even some more general taxons probably don't have their own adjectives, at least in common parlance.
You're probably right, but English is equipped to coin words that will be clearly understood, at least by the intended audience. To manufacture one on the spot, I'll bet that nobody has ever had occasion to distinguish diurnal and nocturnal animals, taken together, from those active predominantly at dawn or sunset ("crepuscular" animals, paralleling "nocturnal animals" and "diurnal animals"), but the proper term would be noncrepuscular. Made up on the spot as an example, but would be instantly clear to anyone with an interest in animal behavior patterns.

In the event I were writing something for Colibri, Darwin's Finch, and their colleagues, and wanted to refer to a characteristic of African elephants (and perhaps their extinct close relatives) not shared by their Indian cousins, the proper term would be loxodontine, from the genus name for African elephants.

As I noted above, English seems to have largely used -ine affixed to the stem of the genus name for this purpose-- two other useful related suffixes are -id and -oid, both clipped from the "official" Latin endings for family and superfamily, -idae and -oidea respectively. To help clarify this, canine would refer to characteristics of dogs, or possibly of dogs and their closest relatives (wolves, coyotes, the dingo, etc.); canid would reference all doglike forms in Family Canidae, including the foxes, the jackal, and some peculiar South American and Southeast Asian forms most of us have probably never heard of; canoid would reference the larger group of dogs, wolves, foxes, bears, raccoons, coatimundis, pandas, wolverines, weasels, skunks, and all their allies, in contradistinction to feloids such as the cats, the cheetah, the mongooses, the aardwolf, the hyenas, the fossa, etc.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:15 PM
wolf_meister wolf_meister is offline
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By the way, the term for such words is collateral adjectives.
That term does not necessarily apply just to animal adjectives though. For example, lunar is the collateral adjective for the Moon.
There are no doubt many lists on the Internet of such words and this guy's site
http://www.angelfire.com/mo/dotila/trivia.html
seems to have a good selection.
You'll have to scroll about of the way down to find the list.
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  #14  
Old 04-28-2008, 01:29 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T
aquiline - eagle
Well now that explains the phrase "he has an aquiline nose". I'd always assumed that the phrase was a reference to the person in question having a nose like some historical figure named Aquila (Roman emperor?) whose nose was so distinctive that it became the basis of an adjective.
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  #15  
Old 06-02-2010, 12:49 AM
jacop90 jacop90 is offline
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List of Animal Adjectives

Alligator- Eusuchian

Ant- Myrmecine

Anteater- Myrmecophagine

Antelope- Alcelaphine, Bubaline, Antilopine

Ape- Simian

Armadillo- Tolypeutine

Ass- Asinine, Equine

Badger- Musteline

Barracuda- Percesocine

Bat- Pteropine, Noctillionine

Bear- Ursine

Bee- Apian, Apiarian

Bird- Avian, Muscicapine, Oscine, Passerine, Pendeline, Volucrine, Ornithic

Bison- Bisontine

Blackbird- Icterine

Bluebird- Turdine

Buffalo- Bovine, Bubaline

Bull- Taurine

Bullfinch- Pyrrhuline

Last edited by Marley23; 12-11-2010 at 01:39 AM.. Reason: removed spam
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  #16  
Old 06-02-2010, 02:02 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
As I noted above, English seems to have largely used -ine affixed to the stem of the genus name for this purpose...
Not really, it's more a case of taking the Latin words, which just happen to correspond to the Genus name for most common European animals. For other animals it doesn't hold true. Most ducks are not of the genus Anas, most mice not from the genus Mus . In some cases, such as the hyaena, the genus name isn't the Latin name at all, so the English adjective in hyenine, rather than the crocutine you would get if you affixed -ine to the genus.

The associated flaw with this derivation is that different species share the same genus. So for example if you wanted to describe something as being like a wallaby then, by your derivation, you would describe it as being macropodine, the word you use for describing something kangaroo-like. Of course this occurs because the Romans never had separate words for kangaroo and wallaby, or indeed any word.

Which brings us to the third flaw, which is that the word macropodine already means macropod-like rather than kangaroo like. So it refers to anything from the bettongs, wallbies and tree kangaroos through to the true kangaroos.

Sticking -ine at the end of the genus name works, but only if the genus name is also the Latin name and only if the genus is fairly narrow.

Quote:
two other useful related suffixes are -id and -oid, both clipped from the "official" Latin endings for family and superfamily, -idae and -oidea respectively.
Those are Greek terms with a rather specific meaning. They only correspond to taxonomic endings because they share the same Greek meaning. Both stem from the Greek eidos meaning shape. So saying that something is -oid means that it shares a similar shape, not a similar characteristic. For example, a boat might be referred to as piscoid or cygnoid , but it would not usually be correct to refer to them as piscine or cygnine. Similarly a nose can be referred to as aquiline if it has shared characteristics with the nose of an eagle, but if you call it aquiloid you are saying that it is literally shaped like an entire eagle.

Quote:
To help clarify this, canine would refer to characteristics of dogs, or possibly of dogs and their closest relatives (wolves, coyotes, the dingo, etc.);
Which highlights the problem, because wolves and dogs share the same genus: Canis. However something wolf-like is lupine because the Romans had a different word for wolf: lupus.

Quote:
canoid would reference the larger group of dogs, wolves, foxes, bears, raccoons, coatimundis, pandas, wolverines, weasels, skunks, and all their allies, in contradistinction to feloids such as the cats, the cheetah, the mongooses, the aardwolf, the hyenas, the fossa, etc.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:53 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Thanks. But did you notice that this thread is somewhat zombesque?
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  #18  
Old 06-02-2010, 06:38 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
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"Zombine", surely?
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  #19  
Old 06-02-2010, 06:52 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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"Zombine" sounds like a psychoactive substance which induces a craving for braaaaains!

(That, or a procrastinator's ice-clearing machine, used 18 months after it was needed.)
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  #20  
Old 06-02-2010, 07:00 AM
Giles Giles is offline
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"Zombified" would work too.
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  #21  
Old 06-02-2010, 08:37 AM
SGT42 SGT42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Simian means ape, not monkey.
.
Simius in Latin means both monkey and ape. By the way, English is, to my knowledge, the only language that has a separate word for ape. In Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and German, there is only one word to designate both types of primates.
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  #22  
Old 06-02-2010, 09:12 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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psittacine - Parrots
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