Word of the Day : December 9, 2017


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 in the 19th century to describe something that resembles an animal. 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.")


The couple could not agree on a dining room set: one preferred a sleek, modern style, while the other liked a more elaborate one with the table and chairs ending in zoomorphic clawed feet.

"The vibrant postmodern façades of Mamani's buildings (and their imitators) contrast with the raw brick and concrete of El Alto's ramshackle architecture.… Ancient motifs, like … zoomorphic figures from mythology, are abstracted and merged with futuristic flourishes." — Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 28 Dec. 2015

Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to complete a "morph" word that describes something (such as a lens) that distorts an image: _ n _ morph _ _.



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