ai·​lu·​ro·​phile | \ ī-ˈlu̇r-ə-ˌfī(-ə)l How to pronounce ailurophile (audio) , ā- \

Definition of ailurophile

: a cat fancier : a lover of cats

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Although the word ailurophile has only been documented in English since the early 1900s, ailurophiles have been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians were perhaps history's greatest cat lovers, pampering and adorning felines, honoring them in art, even treating them as gods. But the English word ailurophile does not descend from Egyptian; rather, it comes from a combination of the Greek word ailouros, which means "cat," and the suffix -phile, meaning "lover." If Egyptian cat-loving sentiments leave you cold and you're more sympathetic to medieval Europeans who regarded cats as wicked agents of evil, you might prefer the word ailurophobe (from ailouros plus -phobe, meaning "fearing or averse to"). That's a fancy name for someone who hates or fears cats.

Examples of ailurophile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Rovelli, obviously an ailurophile, prefers to think of the cat as asleep or awake. John Banville, WSJ, 28 May 2021 Celebrity ailurophiles include the British singer Morrissey and veteran journalist Georgie Anne Geyer. Bradley J. Fikes,, 19 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ailurophile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ailurophile

1914, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ailurophile

Greek aiélouros, aílouros "the wild or domestic cat" + -o- + -phile entry 1 — more at ailurophobia

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The first known use of ailurophile was in 1914

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Cite this Entry

“Ailurophile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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