Most writers are familiar with the animal adjectives canine and feline used to refer to dogs and cats, but they may not be aware of numerous others they could use in writing about both animals and people.
Here are some examples that use leonine, taurine, bovine, and feline:
Concluding with remarks about Toscanini’s technique, Saminsky again contrasted his “leonine manner” with Nikisch’s “carefully restrained movements…” –Toscanini in Britain, Christopher Dyment, p. 18.
Porta … asserts, that such men resemble bulls in anger, as is expressed by the wide nostrils; and, in the strength expressed by the dense neck. I have… seen many stout athletic men with taurine aspects, and have always observed such to have taurine dispositions likewise. –“History of Physiognomy,” The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, Vol. 69, Part 1, 1799.
He was a plump little guy with thinning gray hair over a pink scalp, big brown bovine eyes and dewlaps hanging on either side of his chin. —Peril is My Pay, Stephen Marlowe.
Although it was rare for Bat to be clearly depicted in painting or sculpture, some notable artifacts […] include depictions of the goddess in bovine form. –”Bat (goddess),” Wikipedia.
eartha kitt: the feline femme fatale –headline, Marie Claire, online magazine. (The original headline is all in lowercase.)
Here’s a list of animals with their corresponding adjectives.
In addition to using animal adjectives literally and figuratively to describe animals and people, writers can build character names from them. For example, one of the characters in the novel Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz is a huge, bearlike servant named Ursus. A character called Corvin could have something to do with death; Pavonna could suggest beauty and pride, and Vespicia could be a sharp-tongued woman.
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