Word of the Day : January 22, 2018


adjective LEE-uh-nyne


: 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 leōn. Leōn gave us an interesting range of words: leopard (which derives from leōn 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 combines leōn with the Greek chamai, meaning "on the ground"); as well as the names Leo, 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.


"Jamie has a leonine aspect, with a high clear brow and soft curls eddying over his ears and along his collar." — Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Harper's, March 2009

"You're a kid; you want to escape. Maybe to Edwardian England, maybe to an island of dancing lemurs, maybe through the rear of a magical wardrobe into a land of snow and ice waiting for a leonine king to bring back the sun." — Lawrence Toppman, The Charlotte Observer, 9 Mar. 2017

Test Your Vocabulary

The body of the mythical griffin is composed of parts from what two creatures?



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!