• turdiform •
têr-dê-form • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Shaped like a thrush; resembling a thrush.
Notes: If you would feel a little awkward using this funny word in conversations with your friends, there are two other variants with the same meaning, turdoid and turdine. All these adjectives can also mean "belonging to the family turdus", as do the song-thrush (Turdus musicus), Santa's favorite, the mistletoe thrush (Turdus viscivorus), and that harbinger of spring, the American robin (Turdus migratorius). If you are a true thrush-fancier, you will want to keep your thrushes in a specially constructed turdarium.
In Play: This is a Good Word with which to attract attention to yourself in discussions with bird-watchers: "I saw an interesting little turdiform flyer in my backyard yesterday, but it was green and pileated. Have you any idea what it might have been?" The many types of birds that resemble thrushes provide plenty of work for this word: "Do you happen to know the name of the lovely little turdiform creature sitting on the birdfeeder right now?"
Word History: This rather startling word comes from a Latin compound based on turdus "thrush" + forma "form". The root of turdus started out as trozdos "thrush", but in Latin the [r] and the vowel changed places by a process known as metathesis. Among the other Indo-European languages these two sounds held their original positions to produce English thrush, Russian drozd "thrush", and German Drossel "thrush", with the diminutive suffix -el .