Word of the Day : January 22, 2012

leonine

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adjective LEE-uh-nyne

Definition

: of, relating to, suggestive of, or resembling a lion

Did You Know?

"Leonine" derives from Latin "leo," meaning "lion," which in turn comes from Greek "lēon." "Lēon" gave us an interesting range of words: "leopard" (which is "lēon" combined with "pardos," a Greek word for a panther-like animal); "dandelion" (which came by way of the Anglo-French phrase "dent de lion" -- literally, "lion's tooth"); and "chameleon" (which uses the combining form from Greek that means "on the ground"); as well as the names "Leon" and "Leonard." But the dancer's and gymnast's leotard is not named for its wearer's cat-like movements. Rather, it was simply named after its inventor, Jules Leotard, a 19th-century French aerial gymnast.


Examples

"The world wanders into many strange by-paths of affection. The love of a mother for her children is dominant, leonine, selfish, and unselfish." -- From Theodore Dreiser's 1912 novel The Financier

"At 72, the leonine pianist [McCoy Tyner] didn't make the instrument shudder as he did earlier in his career. But, at its best, his set still produced more sound and fury, more brilliant colors and bursts of dissonance, than most of his peers could match." -- From a review by Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune, December 21, 2011



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