Sunday, January 31, 2010

~ murine tears

murine - of, pertaining to, or characteristic of, the mouse, rat or (more generally) any mammal of the family Muridae. (Wiktionary).

In the English language, most living creatures [or groups thereof] have a particular adjective which refers to them. Hence murine for mice. Corvine for crows. Caprine or hircine for goats. (Hircine may also mean ‘libidinous; lustful; excessively and overweeningly desirous’). Pavonine for peacocks. Columbine for pigeons. Nestorine for the New Zealandish Kea ... and so on.

At the foot of my file of interesting words (my ‘onomasticon’ to use the appropriate [and sesquipedalian] word) I have a list of these adjectives which I add to as I encounter them. I’ve always had a fairly voracious interest in the English tongue and this is one of the ways it manifests. It’s also a useful tool when writing.

So, imagine my uneasiness when I encountered the following in a Priceline catalogue ...

Might they host tours of their production facility? I would be curious to see weeping mice, to learn what is done to make them cry - and in such numbers and to such an extent as to maintain a successful product on the open market.

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