Printable Version
Pronunciation: æ-nê-mah-fê-lês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Wind-loving, wind-blown, currently used exclusively by botanists in referring to those plants that depend on the wind to distribute their pollen (opposed to those that depend on insects attracted to their nectar).

Notes: I keep finding little lexical gems like today's Good Word that should be in the poetic if not general vocabulary, but are instead secreted away in one of the sciences. Anemophilous applies to anything that loves or thrives in wind, not just plants that use the wind for propagation. The noun is anemophily "love of wind", which makes a wind-lover an anemophile [-nee-m-fail].

In Play: Anything you can imagine enjoying or thriving on wind is anemophilous: "Anemophilous gulls sailed aimlessly above on billowing drafts of warm summer air, as the water-bound sailors below stared up at them in awe and admiration." It is a word that works well with imagination: "Gunilla claims to have bought a convertible to slake the thirst of her anemophilous hair for rushing air."

Word History: Today's beautiful Good Word is a compound based on Greek anemos "wind" and philos "love" plus an adjective suffix, -ous. Anemos also underlies anemone, the 'wind flower' that the Greeks thought bloomed only when the wind blows. The sea anemone was so named for its resemblance to the flowering plant. Anemos comes from a root that originally referred to breathing, for we find it again in Latin anima "soul, spirit", which underlies English animal. The connection between breathing and the soul probably came from sight of breath exiting the body on a cold day. To the ancient mind, animals are beings that possess souls.

Dr. Goodword,

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