Naming of Animals

Today we have naming of animals with a hat-tip to Henry Reed for providing help on this post’s title and opening words.

I’m currently reading Transcription by Kate Atkinson. She is a new author to me and the novel is not one I’d typically pick even though it has an espionage theme running through it. It has been an entertaining read and certainly gets on the short-list of this year’s top ten reads for me.

I came across these few sentences:

I took an online test recently which gave me a 35,300 word vocabulary. It is now 35,301. When I read that extract I had no idea what the word vespine meant. I use a Kobo to read ebooks which luckily comes with a built in dictionary. It defined vespine as ‘relating to, or resembling a wasp‘. The extract even uses the word wasp but upon my initial read I did not put them together. So even at my advanced age and being a native English speaker, I am still learning new words.

There are a number of words similar to vespine which relate to animals: equine, feline and canine (horse, cat and dog related respectively) probably being the most common ones. Also in there is bovine, porcine and ovine (cattle, pig and sheep). A couple of interesting ones are asisine (having two meanings) and elaphine (nothing to do with elephants, though the one that is is not what I thought it would be).

I’ve found a whole list of these so here’s a few more to try and guess:

  1. Ursine
  2. Vulpine
  3. Galline
  4. Piscine
  5. Murine
  6. Lapine

I’m really after what these types of animal related adjectives are called as that is still troubling me. Answers in the comments if you please!

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