Word of the Day : March 29, 2012


adjective zoh-uh-MOR-fik


1 : having the form of an animal

2 : of, relating to, or being a deity conceived of in animal form or with animal attributes

Did You Know?

"Zo-" (or "zoo-") derives from the Greek word "zōion," meaning "animal," and "-morph" comes from the Greek "morphē," meaning "form." These two forms combined to give us the adjective "zoomorphic," which was first used in English to describe something that resembles an animal in 1872. English includes other words that were formed from "zo-" or "zoo-," such as "zoology" (made with "-logy," meaning "science"). And there are also other words that were formed from "-morph," such as "pseudomorph," for a mineral having the outward form of another species. (The combining form "pseud-" or "pseudo-" means "false.")


Using her new cookie cutters, Angela baked a batch of zoomorphic cookies to bring to the kids in her niece's classroom.

"The historic Lobero Theatre will be transformed into a rain forest for State Street Ballet's matinee production of The Jungle Book, which boasts some of the most dazzling zoomorphic costumes ever made." - From a review by Elizabeth Schwyzer in the Santa Barbara Independent (California), January 13-20, 2011

Word Family Quiz

What descendant of "morphē" can mean "having no fixed form"? The answer is ...


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