Monday, March 09, 2009

-ine words

One of my low-grade language fascinations is animal adjectives that end in -ine. We all know canine, feline, and bovine, and probably a few others as well, but much rarer are words like vermine (wormlike) or acarine (relating to mites). I've been keeping a list for years, and whenever I encounter a new one, I add it to the list. So, in the interest of sharing too much, here's my incomplete, non-canonical list of all the animal -ine words, and the animals they refer to:

acarine: mite
anguine: snake
anserine: goose
apian: bee
aquiline: eagle
asinine: donkey
avian: bird
bovine: cow
canine: dog
caprine: goat
cervine: deer
chelonian: turtle
corvine: crow
croataline: rattlesnake
discophoran: jellyfish
equine: horse
feline: cat
hircine: goat
larine: gull
leonine: lion
leporine: rabbit
lupine: wolf
murine: mouse
musteline: weasel
ophidian: snake
oscine: songbird
otarine: seal
ovine: sheep
passerine: songbird
pavonine: peacock
pelargic: stork
phocine: seal
piscine: fish
porcine: pig
ranine: frog
selachian: shark
simian: monkey
taurine: bull
testudine: tortoise
ursine: bear
vermine: worm
vespine: wasp
vituline: calf
viverine: civet cat
vulpine: fox

There are a host of others, too -- you can take almost any taxonomic genus and attach an -ine suffix to it. But these are the ones I've seen used by people who aren't biologists. Am I missing any obvious ones?

1 comment:

NerfSmuggler said...

Cool list! Some were really obscure. I felt erudite for recognizing some like deer and bear.

The only other two animal class names which I sometimes run across don't end in -ine: Cetaceous and Cephalopod