Skip to main content
33 votes
Accepted

Why hippopotamus instead of potamohippus?

As you mention, Latin hippopotamus, -i comes from Greek ἱπποπόταμος, which is a compound of ἵππος (hippos = horse) and ποταμός (potamos = river). In Latin, Lewis and Short cites instances in Pomponius ...
brianpck's user avatar
  • 41.8k
13 votes
Accepted

Examples of species whose Latin and scientific names are different

Well, I don't know if it counts, but I think you should search among recent species re-classing. When Linnaeus wrote, Latin names were the logical option to choose a scientific name from. That is why ...
Rafael's user avatar
  • 11.5k
12 votes
Accepted

Can there be double diminutives in Latin?

Yes, double diminutives are possible in Latin. I found a few other examples from a search on Perseus of Lewis and Short (I looked for words ending in "llula", "llulus" and "llulum"): arcellula < ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.5k
12 votes
Accepted

What's bigfoot in latin?

Latin speakers didn't form compounds as often as Greek speakers, but when they did, the usual method was to use -i- as a linking vowel after the stem of the first element, as in magniloquentia "...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.5k
10 votes

What's bigfoot in latin?

It's better to compound with Geek. Think of all the dinosaur names. I'd offer: Megalopus obscurus The species name obscurus has a wide latitude of meaning all centered around 'shadowy', including '...
cmw's user avatar
  • 55.9k
8 votes
Accepted

What does "Turritopsis dohrnii" mean?

This species was originally called Dendroclava dohrnii in honor of Anton Dohrn (as Rafael noted in his comment). This is affirmed by August Weismann in his book: Diesen Namen schlage ich zu Ehren des ...
Expedito Bipes's user avatar
8 votes

Where does the word "thlypis"/θλυπις come from?

According to LSJ, θλυπίς is a variation of θραυπίς, which occurred in Aristotle's Historia Animalium, Book viii, ch. 3: Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα τὰ μὲν ὅλως, τὰ δ´ ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ σκωληκοφάγα, ...
Expedito Bipes's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

What does the f. adjective "tulda" mean?

Bambusa tulda Roxb. synonym Dendrocalamus tulda (Roxb.) Voigt In the Monaco Nature Encyclopedia, Giuseppe Mazza writes: The name of the genus comes from the local Malay name “bambu”; the specific ...
Hugh's user avatar
  • 8,693
6 votes
Accepted

Did the Romans have a definition for a species of organism?

As Aristotle is generally considered as the father of biology — Darwin wrote: “Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods… but they were mere school-boys to old Aristotle.” (in a letter to W. Ogle, ...
Luc's user avatar
  • 2,332
6 votes
Accepted

Latin for "Teaching man"

A straightforward translation is Homō docēns. (Macrons are optional; they represent a difference in sound which disappeared in later Latin.) Homō is a straightforward word for "human". Docēns is the ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
6 votes
Accepted

On Julius Caesar and salmon

The derivation from salire is probably a folk etymology, especially since it does not explain the second syllable of salmo. Walde, Latein. Etym. Wb., says that salmo, and also salar “trout”, are ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 17.9k
6 votes

What is the gender and singular declension of the scientific Latin suffix -idae?

I think it is the patronymic -ides, which is in the first declension in Latin. The plural forms are regular, so bovidae 'sons of a cow' would be bovides in the singular. It would be a masculine noun. ...
Tuomo Sipola's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Genitive form for Phaeocystis

Phaeocystis sounds like a combination of Greek φαιός (phaiós, "gray" or "harsh") and κύστις (kýstis, "bladder"). So the Greek genitive would be Phaeocysteos (Φαιοκύστεως)....
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
5 votes

Is the inflection of the Latin words in today's science similar to that of classical Latin, or English?

Words used in a Latin context are inflected as Latin, and words used in an English context are inflected as English. While people might pluralize "nucleus" as "nuclei", nobody says ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
5 votes

What does "Turritopsis dohrnii" mean?

Turritopsis is a compound word. Its parts are turris, tower, and ὄψις (opsis), appearance. So the jellyfish is "something that looks like a tower" and indeed, if you look up images of it, ...
JobRozemond's user avatar
  • 1,378
5 votes

What's bigfoot in latin?

I don't know that it's Latin, but we do already have the word Gigantopithecus as well as (this one is mentioned as Latin & Greek) Australopithecus - which both refer to bigfoot like creatures.
rm-vanda's user avatar
  • 151
5 votes
Accepted

How can I construct a correctly formed fictitious-species name

For the genus, you'd want it to end in -don, like the Iguanodon. Necro- though doesn't mean "deadly', but "dead." Were I a biologist having seen this, I'd think "dead-tooth bat" and presume it had a ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 55.9k
5 votes

Can there be double diminutives in Latin?

There certainly are double diminutives in Latin. Here are some examples explicitly indicated in Lewis and Short: agellulus < agellus < ager ancillula < ancilla < ancula (Yes, ancilla is a ...
brianpck's user avatar
  • 41.8k
5 votes

What's the meaning of onava?

The abbreviation A.DC. behind the name stands for the botanist Alphonse de Candolle, who introduced this name. (Famous botanists who created lots of scientific names usually get cited with an ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
4 votes

Meaning of phellos in the epithet for Quercus phellos, the biological/scientific name for the willow oak?

That's perfectly understandable, as the word isn't Latin, but Greek. φελλός is the Greek for the 'cork oak', Quercus suber. Why this word was used in the binomial for a different species of oak, I can'...
TKR's user avatar
  • 31.4k
4 votes
Accepted

What does the Latin name Vectaerovenator inopinatus of the new dinosaur mean?

It is enticing to relate Vect- to some form of veho. But I see a link with the Latin name for the Isle of Wight, Vectis, where the dinosaur was found. See also http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?...
JobRozemond's user avatar
  • 1,378
3 votes

A good book on Scientific Latin?

Here are two that I like: Oscar E. Nybakken, Greek and Latin in scientific terminology (Ames, Iowa: The Iowa State University Press) William T. Stearn, Botanical Latin: history, grammar, syntax, ...
cnread's user avatar
  • 20.2k
3 votes
Accepted

Correct formation of a fictitious scientific name

An epithet (adjective) I would use for the species is caeruleus "blue", "dark blue", "sky blue". It was commonly used to describe the blue colour of the sky and of the ...
Vladimir F Героям слава's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

What is the gender and singular declension of the scientific Latin suffix -idae?

Declension of patronymics in Latin as an actual language The Wiktionary entry on -idēs is incomplete (leading you to the mistaken impression that -idēs cannot ever yield the plural -idae): first-...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.5k
2 votes

What does "arcularia" mean in the species name "Nassarius arcularia"?

An arca is a box. An arcula is a small box or jewelry casket. An arcularius is an artisan that makes small boxes. The use of the term in science refers to animals or fungi that feature small boxes or ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
  • 7,077
2 votes

Where does the word "thlypis"/θλυπις come from?

Adding this as a supplement to the answers by Expedito Bipes and Draconis, since I wondered what manuscripts actually are the source of this form. Google books has a scan of Juli Pallí i Bonet's 1996 ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.5k
2 votes
Accepted

Where does the word "thlypis"/θλυπις come from?

Just to expand on Expedito Bipes's answer (and Alex B.'s and fdb's comments) and clarify a bit: The word θλυπίς (thlypis) is a hapax legomenon ("thing said only once"), that is, a word found only ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
1 vote

Is llama lama or glama?

This is speculation, but I believe the name "Glama" is a native name for the animal. Because Spanish became the predominating language of the region, the spelling probably shifted over time ...
cocopepe's user avatar
1 vote

Examples of species whose Latin and scientific names are different

Sticking to the bird theme, meleagris used to mean a pheasant. Through a series of misadventures, the genus Meleagris no longer refers to pheasant, but to turkeys, a genus unknown to the ancients. I ...
Figulus's user avatar
  • 4,771

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible