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 Animal-related Adjectives

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PostSubject: Animal-related Adjectives   Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:50 pm

Animal-related Adjectives


This lesson is about animals... actually, about using adjectives related to animals!

The names of animals are among the first words learned by learners of any language... However, learning the related adjectives can be a bit confusing.

Let's start with a few words which are derived from Latin:

1. canine (from the Latin word 'canis') = use this word when talking about things associated with dogs.

E.g. Those canine accessories are really cute!

2. equine (from the Latin word 'equus')= use this word when talking about things related to horses.

E.g. My grandmother loved horses. She had six equine figurines on her shelf!

3. elephantine = Similar to 'canine' and 'equine' this word can be used when talking about things related to... elephants, of course!

E.g. He had a very elephantine shape... A very broad chest, round stomach and long, strong legs!


The more common animal names have also been used to form adjectives.

4. horsey (from 'horse') - E.g. Susie has a horsey laugh = Her laugh resembles the sound a horse would make.

5. doggy (from 'dog') - E.g. His brother has doggy brown eyes = His brother's eyes are big and brown, resembling a dog's.

6. catty (from 'cat') - E.g. She passed a very catty comment, and really upset her mother = She said something intentionally hurtful or spiteful to her mother.

7. fishy (from 'fish') - E.g. The room had a distinctly fishy smell = The room smelled of fish.

8. ratty (from 'rat') - E.g. Dirk's face has remarkably ratty features = Dirk's face resembles that of a rat.

--- --- ---

You can also form adjectives by combining the form -like to the name of an animal. It is usually neutral or even positive in tone, but it really depends on the typical associations of the animal involved.

Here are two examples:

9. catlike = someone who moves in a stealthy manner.

10. lamb-like = a gentle, quiet person.

However, adjectives formed by adding the suffixes -y or -ish to the names of animals are mainly negative.

11. sheepish = used to describe someone who is embarrassed because they have done something wrong.

12. sluggish = used to describe someone who moves in a slow or lazy way.

13. waspish = used to describe someone's aggressive or bad temper.
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