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Vocabulary 24 - Words Related to Animals
If someone or something is 'lop-eared' then they have long, drooping ears, like this rabbit.

Vocabulary 24 - Words Related to Animals

Animals are an integral part of our lives and we are always near them from the time we are born until the time we die. Soon after we stop taking our mother’s milk we start drinking cow’s milk. We may have pets, such as dogs and cats. In our schools we are taught about animals and we are taught using animals as mnemonics – C is for cat and E is for elephant, for example.

When our lives are so closely linked to animals can the English language be far away? No! English contains a mix of original English words and others taken from foreign languages, cultures and usage. The English language has spread out and borrowed words from many spheres. New words have come from science, civics, mathematics, economics, medicine and sociology, indeed from almost any human activity. Words are also drawn from living things other than humans.

English has many words that are connected with or related to animals; a term used to encompass other living forms such as mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. Let's look at a few examples:

Thoroughbred
Carnivorous

Feral

'Thoroughbred' is usually used to describe horses that are of pure blood and this word is also used to describe a well-educated or well-bred person.
'Carnivorous' is used for animals that eat flesh (as opposed to 'herbivorous' which means animals which eat only plants). A dog is a carnivorous animal, whereas a cow is a herbivorous animal.
'Feral' is associated with wild animals. The word is usually used to describe something brutal or ferocious, including some people!

Many words related in some way to animals have entered the English language and the quiz that follows will help to expand your vocabulary by exposing you to them.
1.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Matrimonial
Web-footed
Amphibious
Warm-blooded
'Matrimonial' refers to marriage.
'Web-footed' describes toes (usually belonging to animals!) which are joined together by skin, such as on a duck.
'Amphibious' is the capability of coping equally well on both land and in water, like a frog, although this word is often used to describe military vehicles.
'Warm-blooded' is the ability to stay warm in both warm and cold conditions.
Think about some more animals that you can relate these words to
2.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Venomous
Androgynous
Tame
Sweetmeat
'Sweetmeat' describes sugary foods, such as sweets.
'Venomous' is the capacity to produce poison. A jellyfish, for example, is venomous.
An 'androgynous' animal is one which has female and male parts, like a slug.
A 'tame' animal is one which is capable of living with people, a dog for example.
Think about some more animals that you can relate these words to
3.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Stuffed
Scapegoat
Spineless
Anthropoid
A 'scapegoat' is somebody who is falsely implicated to save someone else.
'Stuffed' refers to dead animals that are stuffed with material to make them look alive. It is also used to describe a person who has eaten too much food!
'Spineless' animals do not have spines (such as a fly) but it also means a cowardly person.
An 'anthropoid' is an animal which looks similar to humans.
Think about some more animals that you can relate these words to
4.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Aquatic
Arboreal
Simian
Bookworm
A 'bookworm' is a person who reads a lot of books.
'Aquatic' refers to animal life in or near water.
'Arboreal' refers to trees or animals which live in trees.
'Simian' means 'like monkeys'.
Think about some animals that you can relate these words to
5.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Predatory
Purebred
Asexual
Underdog
An 'underdog' is a person who is not expected to win in a contest.
A 'predatory' animal is one which kills and eats other animals, such as a lion.
'Purebred' means 'having parents of the same breed' and is usually used to describe horses or dogs, but occasionally people.
An 'asexual' animal does not have sexual organs.
Can you think of some animals that you can relate these words to?
6.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Forbear
Caged
Captive
Pedigree
The word 'forbear' is not related to the animals, bears. It means 'to keep (or bear) back'.
A 'pedigree' animal is from a long generation of single breeds.
A 'captive' animal is a wild animal kept in a park or a zoo.
A 'caged' animal is one which is kept in a cage.
Think about some animals that you can use these words to describe
7.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Cold-blooded
Omnivorous
Forebear
Parasitic
No, it's not a trick! As well as meaning 'to hold back' the word 'forebear' also means 'an ancestor or forefather'.
'Cold-blooded' animals change their body temperature as per the environment.
An 'omnivorous' animal is an animal that eats both plants and animals.
A 'parasitic' animal lives in or on another animal and feeds on it.
Can you think of some animals that you can use these words to describe?
8.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Diurnal
Daisywheel
Downy
Nocturnal
A 'daisywheel' is a component of a computer printer.
'Diurnal' animals are active at both night and day.
A 'downy' animal is one that is covered in soft feathers or hair.
A 'nocturnal' animal is active only at night-time. Think about some animals that you can relate these words to
9.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Man-eating
Migratory
Draught
Weathercock
A 'weathercock' is a weather vane used to show the direction of the wind.
A 'man-eating' animal is one which kills humans and eats them, for example, a shark.
'Migratory' animals are ones that migrate to warmer climes during weather they find inclement, for example geese.
A 'draught' animal is used for jobs that require pulling heavy objects.
Think about some animals that you can use these words to describe
10.
Choose the word that does not describe an animal from the following list.
Dogged
Horned
Freshwater
Lop-eared
'Dogged' means 'to be persistent' and is most often used to describe people who never give in.
'Horned' animals are those that have horns.
'Freshwater' animals are those that live in water that is not salty and is usually used to describe fish.
'Lop-eared' animals are those that have long, drooping ears.
Can you think of some animals that you can describe with these words?
Author:  V T Narendra

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