• lagopodous •
Pronunciation: lê-gah-pê-dês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Rabbit-footed, having feet like a rabbit. 2. Having feet thickly covered with feathers or fur, like the Alpine ptarmigans (Lagopus alpinus) in the picture.
Notes: Here is a word that you might think peripheral enough to omit from your vocabulary. However, it has a slightly more specific meaning than mere rabbit-footed, a word I am sure you find great use for. A creature (especially a ptarmigan) with feet like a rabbit is a lagopus—and probably a sour puss, too, if he isn't a rabbit. Lagopodously would be in a shaggy-footed manner.
In Play: I know what you are thinking: why would any normal human being need this word? But I was frustrated for years at the lack of a word to describe my aunt, who loved flopping lagopodously around the house in her bunny slippers. If you look around, you'll find places where it plays well, too: "Jerry Attrick looks like a lagopodous leprechaun, lunging through the snow in his green hat, outdated ski suit, and oversized snowshoes."
Word History: Today's Good Word is made up of Greek lagos "rabbit" + pod- (pous) "foot". Lagos is a distant relation of English slack, sharing a common ancestor (s)leg-/(s)log- "slack, loose", with a Fickle S, a loose S that often fell off in the process of historical development. It also explains the relation of Latin laxus "slack, loose" and English slack. The connection between "slack" and bunnies is those slack, floppy ears on bunnies' heads.