flehmen

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noun fleh·men \ ˈflā-mən \

Definition of flehmen

:a mammalian behavior (as of horses or cats) in which the animal inhales with the mouth open and upper lip curled to facilitate exposure of the vomeronasal organ to a scent or pheromone

flehmen

intransitive verb

flehmen was our Word of the Day on 03/27/2013. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Flehmen comes to English by way of German, in which language the word applies to animals and means "to curl the upper lip." The German source of the English word is a verb, and the English word is also used-albeit rarely-as a verb, as in "the horse flehmened." More often, though, the verbal form is actually a gerund: "the horse's flehmening." "Flehmen" is sometimes capitalized in English, as nouns are in German, but more often it is lowercase.

Origin and Etymology of flehmen

German, from flehmen (of animals) to curl the upper lip


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