Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bovine, Ovine, Porcine, Equine.......

For those of you who do crossword puzzles, you may want to commit to memory this handy list, to save thumbing through the dictionary and maybe spilling your cup of coffee or glass of wine, as a result :)

aquiline - eagle
asinine - 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
volucrine - bird
vulpine - fox

Somehow people who can link items to their generic groups have always fascinated me - not sure why, but as you may have guessed, I'm an obscure information hound and saying something like, "I see that he has lupine characteristics," sounds so much more educated than saying, "The guy's a wolf."

Many of these words, I didn't know existed and others I have used from time to time. I am sure that everyone has heard the term "asinine." Serpentine is a lovely adjective as is leonine. Feline and canine are pretty much in common usage and to a lesser degree equine, ursine and vulpine. I was surprised to see three different terms for deer - rusine, corvine and elaphine and the fact that you could transform a deer into a snake by removing the "h." :)

All of this may seem a little pedantic. The poet Ogden Nash had a great way of putting things in perspective.  Here's a favourite poem of his.

The Cow
The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.

Have an interesting day!!


  1. thank you for this, i am going to memorise it all

  2. I'm attempting to get my grandkids to play this word game. My parents were not college educated, but read voraciously. Words and vocabulary were a focus of our home. Thankfully that has seeped down hill and all 6 of our grandkids test 4+ grade levels above their grade level in vocabulary. The one in 1st grade ran out of words in the test. I think 5th grade vocabulary

  3. What is the term for moose?

  4. the sex of offsping thereof of?