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Properly naming organisms is often a tricky endeavour. While Linnean nomenclature has the virtue of universality, its reliance on latin and classical greek, and the complex rules by which the roots are combined, often make difficult the creation of appropriate and pleasing names.


Linnaean taxonomy

In his original work, in the XVIII century, Linnaeus classified life on Earth in a hierarchy with eight ranks: from the largest to the smallest, the kingdom (regnum), the phylum (also called division), the class (classis), the order (ordo), the family (familia), the genus and the species. A ninth (somewhat informal) rank, the domain, was added in the XX century above the kingdom. According to the modern taxonomy, humans belong to the domain Eukarya, the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa (animals), the phylum Chordata, the class Mammalia (mammals), the order Primates, the family Hominidae, the genus Homo and the species Homo sapiens.

As the complexity of classification increased further, in the XIX and XX century, more and more ranks were added, furtherly refining the process - first adding prefixes such as super-, sub-, infra-, and then with entirely new names. The complete chain becomes domain/superkingdom - kingdom - subkingdom - infrakingdom/branch - superphylum/superdivision - phylum/division - subphylum - infraphylum - microphylum - superclass - class - subclass - infraclass - parvoclass - legion - cohort - magnorder - superorder - order - suborder - infraorder - parvorder - superfamily - family - subfamily - supertribe - tribe - subtribe - genus - subgenus - section - series - superspecies - species - subspecies - infraspecies - variety - form.

Here is the complete classification of four example lifeform: humans, fruit flies, sunflowers and the bacterium E. coli (note that different authors can disagree about the details).

Domain Eukarya Eukarya Eukarya Eubacteria
Kingdom Metazoa Metazoa Plantae -
Subkingdom Eumetazoa Eumetazoa Embryophyta
Infrakingdom Deuterostomia Protostomia Tracheophyta
Superphylum Ecdysozoa Spermatophyta
Phylum Chordata Arthropoda Angiospermae Proteobacteria
Subphylum Vertebrata Pancrustacea
Infraphylum Gnathostomata Hexapoda
Microphylum Osteichthyes
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Mammalia Insecta Eudicotiledonae Gammaproteobacteria
Subclass Theria Pterygota
Infraclass Holotheria Neoptera
Parvoclass Trechnotheria Antliophora
Legion Cladotheria
Cohort Placentalia
Magnorder Euarchontoglires (Asterida)
Superorder Euarchonta Amphiesmenoptera (Euasterida II)
Order Primates Diptera Asterales Enterobacteriales
Suborder Haplorrhini Brachycera
Infraorder Simiiformes Schizophora
Parvorder Catarrhini Acalyptratae
Superfamily Hominoidea Ephydroidea
Family Hominidae Drosophilidae Asteraceae Enterobacteriaceae
Subfamily Homininae Drosophilinae
Supertribe Drosophiliti
Tribe Hominini Drosophilini Heliantheae
Subtribe Hominina Drosophilina
Genus Homo Drosophila Helianthus Escherichia
Subgenus D. (Sophophora)
Species H. sapiens D. melanogaster H. annuus E. coli
Subspecies H. s. sapiens
"Human" "Fruit fly" "Sunflower"

Clade names

Also see: Phylogeny

Also see: PhyloCode, art. 10 and art. 11

The name of each category (taxon, plural form taxa) is obtained from a Latin or Greek word (e.g. Plantae = "plants") or from two or more words combined, either both Greek or both Latin (e.g. Tetrapoda = "four feet"). Even when the words are etymologically greek, they obey the rules of latin grammar, and they're always plural. Genera and species are treated according to special rules (see below). Often, the rank of degree higher than the genus has a particular ending, which can be found in this table:

Bacteria Algae Plants Fungi Animals
Phylum -(bacter)ia -phyta -phyta -mycota
Subphylum -phytina


Class -(bacter)ia -phyceae -opsida -mycetes -zoa (rare)
Subclass -idae -phycidae -idae -mycetidae
Superorder -anae -anae -anae
Order -(bacter)iales -ales -ales -ales -aria, -zoa, -idea
Suborder -ineae -ineae -ineae -ineae
Infraorder -aria -aria -aria
Superfamily -acea -acea -acea -oidea
Family -(bacter)iaceae -aceae -aceae -aceae -idae
Subfamily -oidae -oidae -oidae -oidae -inae
Tribe -eae -eae -eae -eae -ini
Subtribe -inae -inae -inae -inae -ina

Some of them are not always used. Sometimes, taxa names are formed from a particular genus (eponymus genus), for example the tribe Heliantheae from Helianthus. The root used in the latine genitive of the genus: since the genitive on Homo is Hominis, the family to which humans belong is called Hominidae rather than Homidae. However, in the vast majority of cases the use of genitive does not make a difference and can be ignored. Usually, any clade name except for genera and species are not italicized, though PhyloCode specifies they should.

Today, with modern cladistics, the ranks do not exist anymore, as clades can nest inside other clades that traditionally have the same rank (e.g. "Class" Aves into "Class" Sauropsida), or even in clades that traditionally have a lower rank (e.g. "Class" Aves into "Order" Saurischia). Because of this, most new clade names are not formed with special endings anymore. Since the taxonomic rank has been abandoned, monotypic taxa (those that include only one sub-category) should be avoided: if Cephalotaceae contains only Cephalotus, which contains only C. follicularis, this last one is the only name that should be kept, as the others are superfluous.

There still are some cases were special particles are employed: PhyloCode suggests the prefix "Pan-" for total groups (clades that include a living clade and every organism closer to it than to any other living clade), for example Pan-Aves or Pan-Insecta; more generically, "Pan-", "Holo-", "-formes" and "-morpha" make the base group more inclusive, while "Eo-", "Eu-", "Neo-" and "Proto-" make it more specific; "Pseudo-" and "Para-" would be used for similar, but entirely distinct groups. "Apo-" would be used for groups that exhibit a derived trait, for example if Spermatophyta plants are characterized by seeds, "Apo-Spermatophyta" would be the widest clade to include plants with seeds.

In some entries, any name of a clade is accompanied by the surname of the author who established it and the year of establishment: for example, "Mammalia (Linnaeus, 1758)" or "Amniota (Haeckel, 1866)".

Binomial nomenclature

The heart of both Linnaean taxonomy and modern phylogeny is the binomen (also called "binomial name" or "scientific name"): the double name that identifies a species. It always include both the genus and the proper species (and sometimes the subgenus, while superspecies are written in the same way as a normal species). They obey special rules different from the higher-ranking taxa names:

  1. They always must be written italicized, while the others don't (except according to PhyloCode).
  2. Genus and subgenus are always capitalized, just like the other names, while species and subspecies cannot ever be capitalized.
  3. Species and subspecies can NOT ever be written alone: it's either Homo sapiens or H. sapiens, but never sapiens alone.

The subspecies can be written after the species, obeying the same rules: it's Homo sapiens idaltu or H. sapiens idaltu or H. s. idaltu, but never Homo idaltu or idaltu alone. The subgenus, finally, in inserted between genus and species (if there is one), among parenthesis: for example, Bos (Bos) taurus. Diversely from the genus, even if it exists it can be ignored, writing only genus and species (Bos taurus).

Botanical varieties are written like species, but introduced by "variety" or "var." e.g. Escobaria vivipara var. deserti.

Domain-Subtribe Genus (Subgenus) superspecies-form
Is capitalized? Yes Yes Yes No
Is italicized? Only in PhyloCode Yes Yes Yes
Can be written alone? Yes Yes No No
Can it be ignored? Yes No Yes Yes

As with higher-rank names, binomina can be accompanied by the name of the author and the date of their establishment. If the species was then moved to another genus, name and date are between parentheses, otherwise they're not. For example, "Patella vulgata Linnaeus, 1758", but "Passer domesticus (Linnaeus, 1758)" as it was originally Fringilla domestica. If only the genus is identified, of course name and date must refer to it: "Passer Brisson, 1760". In botany, the date is ignored and the name is shortened to its first initial.

Summary of possible forms to write a species:

  • Genus species
  • G. species
  • Genus species subspecies
  • G. species subspecies
  • G. s. subspecies
  • Genus (Subgenus) species
  • Genus (S.) species
  • G. (S.) species
  • Genus (Subgenus) species subspecies
  • G. (Subgenus) species subspecies
  • G. (S.) species subspecies
  • G. (S.) s. subspecies


Traditionally, the roots used in genera and species names are latin or classical greek words; it's common that, while the genus is more specific, the species name is a generic latin adjective, such as communis (common), silvestris (wild), domesticus (domestic), borealis (northern), etc. This is not a rule, however. It's recommended that the literal meaning of the binomen is a description of the organism, but in fact any name is acceptable. It's usually recommended to avoid mixing both latin and greek roots in the same genus or species (nomen hybridum), though this is not an actual rule.

Recently, an habit has been born to use other languages in taxonomic terms: for example, Mei long is a chinese expression that means "sleeping dragon"; for chinese dinosaurs, the root long (="dragon") has all but replaced the greek root saurus (="lizard"). Shuvuuia comes from Mongolian, Balaur bondoc from Romanian; in many cases, latin endings are added, such as the -ia in Shuvuuia, but this doesn't always happen.

Often, one of the roots identifies the place of discoveries: for example, Bakonydraco, the "dragon of the Bakony Mountains". There is no specific rule concerning geographic places, except for euphony (the name should be fluid and pleasant); sometimes, the geographic origin is used as species, with the name of the place turned into a latin adjective with a suffix such as "-anus", "-icus" or "-ensis", for example Castor canadensis.

Another common choice for the species is the surname of a person, as in Apatosaurus louisae, after Louise Carnegie; in this case, a suffix such as "-i", "-ii" or "-ia" is added at the end, unless the surname ends with an "a", which is replaced by "-ae". The suffix "-ae" should be used for feminine names, and avoided for masculine ones.


Whatever the etymology of the roots is, the binomen follows the rules of latin grammar. As detailed here, the names should use only the letters in the english alphabet (abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz) and no one else; moreover, it should be easily pronounceable, contain at least a vowel in each syllable and not contain long strings of consonants (though there are accepted names that violate this rule, such as Piatnitzkysaurus and Futalognkosaurus).

In the latin language, adjectives have a grammatical gender too, and they must have the same gender as the name they accompany. The basic form given by vocabularies is the masculine form, usually ending in "-us" or "-is"; as a rule of thumb, adjectives that end in "-us" become "-a" when feminine, and "-um" when neuter; those who end in "-is" stay "-is" when feminine and become "-e" when neuter; those who end in "-er" become "-ra" when feminin and "-rum" when neuter. While there are several exception, this rule holds true in most cases. For this reason, Linnaeus' Fringilla domestica could not become Passer domestica, but rather Passer domesticus, as "passer" is a masculine word.

List of words

NOTE: the words given here are from two languages - greek and latin. They can be distinguished by the fact that greek words come with their transliteration in greek letters, for example "arctos (ἄρκτος)", while latin words are isolated, for example "ursus".


Word Translation Example
alga, seaweed phycos (φῦκος) Fucus
amphibian, crawling animal herpeton (ἑρπετόν) Greererpeton ("Greer's amphibian")
animal zoon (ζῷον) Diplozoon ("double animal")
ant formica, myrmex (μύρμηξ) Myrmecocystus ("bag-ant")
ape pithecos (πίθηκος) Australopithecus ("southern ape")
bear arctos (ἄρκτος), ursus Arctodus ("bear tooth"), Ursus
beast, wild animal therion/thero/therium (θηρίον) Megatherium ("great beast")
bee apis Apis
bird avis, ornis/ornitho (ὄρνις) Ichthyornis ("fish-bird"), Aves
camel camelos (κάμηλος) Camelus
cat catus, felis Felis catus
cattle, ox boos, bous, bys (βοῦς) Buphagus ("ox eater")
crab cancer, eryon (ἐρυον) Cancer, Eryon
crayfish cammaros (κάμμαρος) Cambaridae
crocodile champsa (χαμρσα), suchos (σοῦχος)

Deinosuchus ("terrible crocodile")

deer elaphos (έλάφος) Boselaphus ("ox-deer")
dog canis, cyon/cyno (κυον) CanisCynodictis ("dog marten")
dragon draco, dracon (δρακον) Thalassiodracon ("sea dragon")
eagle aetos (αετός) Haliaeetus ("sea eagle")
fish ichthys (ἰχθύς), piscis Saurichthys ("lizard fish")
frog, toad batrachos (βάτραχος) Palaeobatrachus ("ancient frog")
goat tragos (τράγος) Taurotragus ("bull goat")
hare lepus Lepus
hedgehog echinos (ἐχῖνος) Echinodermata ("hedgehog skin")
horse equus, hippos (ἵππος) Equus, Archaeohippus ("old horse")
human anthropos (ἄνθρωπος), homo Pithecanthropus ("ape man")
leech bdella (βδέλλα) Tyrannobdella ("tyrant leech")
lizard saura/saurus (σαύρα) Dinosauria ("terrible lizards")
oak drys/dryo- (δρυς) Dryosaurus ("oak lizard")
oyster, shellfish ostreon (ὄστρεον) Ostrea
monkey pithecos (πίθηκος) Australopithecus ("southern ape")
mouse mus, mys (μῦς) Mus, Geomys ("ground mouse")
parrot psittacos (ψιττακος) Psittacosaurus ("parrot lizard")
plant phyton (φυτόν) Chlorophyta ("green plants")
reed kalamos (καλαμος) Calamus
reptile, crawling animal herpeton (ἑρπετόν) Herpetoichthys ("reptile fish")
sheep ovis Ovis
snake ophis (ὄφις) Gigantophis ("giant snake")
spider arachne (ἀράχνη) Arachnida
squid teuthis (τευθις) Architeuthis ("ruling squid")
tadpole gyrinos (γυρῖνος) Proterogyrinus ("earlier tadpole")
turtle, tortoise chelone (χελώνη), emys (ἐμύς) Odontochelys ("toothed turtle")
wasp sphex (σφήξ) Sphecomyrma ("wasp-ant")
wolf lycos (λυκος) Lycaenops ("wolf face")
worm helminthe (ἕλμινς, ἑλμινθ-) Platyhelminthes ("flat worms")


aquatic aquaticus Hyemoschus aquaticus
beach, coast, shore aigialos (αἰγιαλός) Aigialosaurus ("shore lizard")
cave-dweller spelaeus, troglodytes Ursus spelaeus
climber scandens Scandentia
cold psychros (ψυχρός) Psychroteuthis ("cold squid")
depth bathos (βάθος) Bathydraco ("depth dragon")
domestic domesticus Passer domesticus
dweller, inhabitant cola/colus Arvicola ("country dweller")
forest, woodland hyle (ὕλη) Hylonomus ("forest dweller")
garden(dwelling) hortensis, pratensis Poa pratensis
lake lacus, limne (λίμνη) Limnonectes ("lake swimmer")
land geo (γαῖα, γῆ) Geochelone ("land tortoise")
marine halo/hali (ἅλς) Halisaurus ("marine lizard")
mountain oros/oreos (ὄρος) Oreopithecus ("mountain ape")
mountain(dwelling) montanus Alsodes montanus
ocean oceanos (ὠκεανός) Oceanodroma ("ocean runner")
open sea pelagos (πέλαγος), thalassa (θάλασσα) Thalassodromeus ("sea runner")
river potamos (ποταμός) Hippopotamus ("river horse")
salt halo/hali (ἅλς) Halobacterium ("salt bacterium")
sand ammos (ἄμμος), psammos (ψάμμος) Ammophila ("sand lover")
spring vernalis Adonis vernalis
swamp, marsh elos (έλος), telmatos (τελματος) Telmatosaurus ("marsh lizard")
swamp(dwelling) palustris Calla palustris
water hydro (ὕδωρ, ὑδρο-) Hydrometra ("water measurer")
wild, rural agrestis, arvensis, silvestris Alauda arvensis


anus proctos (πρωκτός) Cryptoprocta ("hidden anus")
arm brachion (βραχίων), cheir (χείρ) Brachiosaurus ("arm lizard")
back dorsum, noton (νῶτον) Platynota ("flat back")
beak rhamphos (ράμφος) Rhamphorhynchus ("beaked snout")
berry(bearing) baccatus Conus baccatus
bladder, sac cyste (κύστη) Cystophora ("bladder bearer")
blood haema/hema (αἷμα) Haematopus ("bloody feet")
bone osteon (ὀστέον) Osteoglossum ("bony tongue")
branch, bough dendron (δένδρον), clados (κλάδος) Dendrobates ("branch walker")
Cladocera ("branched horns")
cartilage chondros (χόνδρος) Chondrichthyes ("cartilaginous fishes")
claw onychos/onyx/nychus (ὄνυχος) Onychodus ("claw-tooth")
ear auris, oto (ὠτο) Microtus ("small ear")
egg oon (ᾠόν) Oomycota ("egg fungi")
eye oculus, ophthalmos/opto (ὀφθαλμός) Ophthalmosaurus ("eye lizard")
face, aspect ops/opsis (ὄψ, ὄψις) Triceratops ("three-horned face")
feather penna, pteron (πτερόν) Hieraaetus pennatus
feather (soft), down pluma, ptilon (πτίλον) Thaumaptilon ("wonderful soft feather")
fin pteron/pterygo (πτερόν) Stenopterygius ("strong fin")
finger, toe dactylos (δάκτυλος) Pterodactylus ("winged finger")
flat appendage pteron/pterygo (πτερόν) Pterygotus ("with flat appendages")
flower anthos (ανθος), flos/flora Anthozoa ("flower animals")
foot pes/pedis, pod/pous/pus (ποῦς, ποδ-) Eupodophis ("snake with good feet")
fruit carpos (καρπός) Carpolestes ("fruit thief")
gill branchia (βράγχια) Branchiosaurus ("gill lizard")
gland aden (ἀδήν) Adenomere ("part of a gland")
hair thrix/thrich (θρίξ, τριχ-), pilus Trichoptera ("hairy wings")
hand cheir (χείρ) Deinocheirus ("terrible hand")
head cephale/cephalo (κεφαλή), ceps Cephalopoda ("head-feet")
M. tenuiceps ("thin head")
heart cardia (καρδίᾱ) Acanthocardia ("thorny heart")
hind leg scelis/skelis (σκελίς) Limnoscelis ("lake hind leg")
horn ceras/ceros (κέρας), cornus Ceratotherium ("horned beast")
jaw gnathos (γνάθος) Gnathostomata ("jawed mouths")
joint, articulation arthron (ἄρθρον) Arthropoda ("jointed legs")
kernel, nucleus caryon (κάρυον) Eukaryota ("good nucleus")
kidney nephros (νεφρός) Nephrozoa ("animals with kidneys")
leaf folium, phyllon (φύλλον) Sphenophyllum ("wedge-shaped leaves")
leg, shin cneme (κνήμη) Bradycneme ("slow leg")
meat, flesh carnis/carno, sarx (σάρξ) Sarcopterygii ("fleshy fins")
membrane, veil, thin skin hymen (ὑμήν) Hymenoptera ("membranous wings")
mouth os/oris, stoma (στόμα) Cyclostomata ("circular mouths")
muscle myo/mys (μῦς)
nerve neuron (νεῦρον) Meganeura ("large nerves")
nose rhis/rhino (ῥις, ῥινο-) Rhinoceros ("horned nose")
nut caryon (κάρυον)
plate plax/placo (πλάξ) Placodermi ("plated skin")
pulp, tissue layer stroma (στρώμα) Stromatolite ("stratum rock")
root rhiza (ῥίζα) Zygorhiza ("yoke-root")
scale, crust lepis (λεπίς), pholis Goniopholis ("angular scales")
seed sperma (σπέρμα) Gymnospermae ("naked seeds")
side, flank latus, pleuro (πλευρό), psoa (ψόα) Pleuronectes ("side swimmer")
skin cutis, derma (δέρμα) Cerastoderma ("horned skin")
snout, muzzle, beak rhynchos (ῥύγχος), rostrum Metriorhynchus ("moderate snout")
stem, stalk caulos (καυλός), stauros (σταυρός) G. acaulis ("stemless")
Staurozoa ("stalked animals")
stomach, abdomen gaster/gastro (γαστήρ) Gastropoda ("abdomen-foot")
tail cauda, ourus/oura (οὐρά) Acanthurus ("spiny tail")
tendon neuron (νεῦρον)
tongue glossis/glottis (γλωσσίς, γλωττίς) Bolitoglossa ("throwing tongue")
tooth odon/odonto/odus (ὀδών, ὀδούς) C. megalodon ("large tooth")
vertebra spondylos (σπονδυλος) Streptospondylus ("reversed vertebra")
wing pteron/pterygo (πτερόν) Archaeopteryx ("ancient wing")
womb delphis (δελφυς) Didelphis ("two wombs")
wood xylon (ξύλον) Asteroxylon ("star-shaped wood")
wool, woolly erion (ἔριον) Eriophorum ("wool-bearing")


amber electron (ἤλεκτρον)
azure caeruleus, cyanos (κυανός)
banded, striped fasciatus, lineatus, striatus Myrmecobius fasciatus
black mauros (μαῦρος), melas/melan- (μέλας) A. melanoleuca ("black-and-white")
blue caeruleus Passiflora caerulea
blue-green cyanos (κυανός), glaucos (γλαυκός) Cyanobacteria ("blue-green bacteria")
blue-grey lividus Calliphora livida
brown (dark) fuscus Pelobates fuscus
colour chroma (χρῶμα) Chromalveolata ("coloured alveoli")
coloured pictus Lycaon pictus
dark atrus, fuscus, obscurus, phaeos (φαιός) Phaeophyceae ("dark algae")
gold, golden aureus, flavus, chrysos (χρυσός) Potos flavus
green chloros (χλωρός), prasinos (πράσινος), viridis Prasinohaema ("green blood")
green (pale) chloros (χλωρός) Chlorophyta ("green plants")
grey glaucos (γλαυκός), phaeos (φαιός) Glaucopsyche ("grey-bluish butterfly")
grey (pale) canus
ivory eburneus Conus eburneus
multi-coloured variegatus, versicolor Calotes versicolor
pale glaucos (γλαυκός)
pigment, ink melas/melan- (μέλας)
pink rhodon (ῥόδον) Rhodophyta ("red-pink plants")
purple purpureus Lablab purpureus
red erythron (ἐρυθρός), rhodon (ῥόδον), ruber Erythrocebus ("red monkey")
reddish rufus Macropus rufus
silver argentatus Larus argentatus
spotted, pointed maculatus, punctatus

Pardalotus punctatus

tawny fulvus Eulemur fulvus
transparent diaphanes (διαφανής), hyalinos (ὑάλινος) pellucidus Hyalinobatrachium ("glass frog")
white albus, leucos (λευκός) Leucanthemum ("white flower")
whitish/greyish canescens Tiquilia canescens
yellow (bright) flavus, luteus Calochortus luteus
yellow chitrinos (κίτρινος), crocos (κρόκος), xanthos (ξανθός) Crocus, P. xanthopus ("yellow foot")


angle, angular gonia (γωνία) Gonioceras ("angular horn")
branching, treelike arborescens Aloe arborescens
circle, round cyclos (κύκλος) Cyclomedusa ("circular jellyfish")
creeping, crawling repens/reptans Ranunculus repens
crested, ridged carinatus, cristatus Proteles cristata
crowned coronatus Stephanoaetus coronatus
curved, bent cyrtos (κυρτός), campylos (καμρυλος) Campylobacter ("bent bacterium")
curved upwards repandus Cereus repandus
disc discos (δίσκος) Discoplax ("disc-shaped plate")
divided partitus Stegastes partitus
downy, velvety pubescens Bangiomorpha pubescens
dwarf nanos (νᾶνος), nanus, pumilio Oophaga pumilio
fat pinguis Pinguinus
feathered pennatus Distoechurus pennatus
flat and wide platys (πλατύς) Platyrrhini ("flat noses")
fused ankylos (ἀγκύλος) Ankylosaurus ("fused lizard")
graceful lepton (λεπτόν) Leptodactylus ("graceful fingers")
high, tall aepy/epi- (αἰπύς, αἰπός), hypsos (ὕψος) Aepycamelus ("high camel")
Hypsignathus ("tall jaw")
higher elatior Primula elatior
hollow, cavity antron (ἄντρον), coelo/coilo (κοιλος) Coelophysis ("hollow body/form")
huge, enormous gigas/giganto- (γίγας), immensus Gigantopithecus ("giant ape")
large macros (μακρός), megas/megalo- (μέγας) Megalosaurus ("large lizard")
larger maior/major Parus major
largest maximus, megistos (μεγιστος) Elephas maximus
Megistotherium ("largest beast")
light, slim lepton (λεπτόν), tenuis Leptodactylus ("slim fingers")
lump, knot chondros (χόνδρος), nodo/nodus Nodosaurus ("lumpy lizard")
long, elongated dolichos (δόλιχος) Dolichopodidae ("long feet")
maned, bearded iubatus/jubatus C. t. albojubatus ("white-bearded")
naked gymnos (γυμνόσ), psilos (ψιλός) E. gymnura ("naked tail")
narrow, slender strictus, tenuis Tellina tenuis
ray actis/actino (ἀκτίς) Actinopterygii ("fins with rays")
reversed, twisted streptos (στρεπτος) Streptomyces ("twisted fungus")
ribbed costatus Dickinsonia costata
right, straight orthos (ὀρθός), strictus Orthoceras ("straight horn")
rough, warty verrucosus Sus verrucosus
serrate, jagged carcharos (καρχαρος), erosus Carcharodon ("jagged tooth")
sharp, pointed acutus, oxys (ὀξύς) Oxycera ("sharp horns")
short brachys (βραχύς), brevis Brachyceratops ("short horned face")
small micros (μικρόν), parvus Micromys ("small mouse")
smaller minor Eudyptula minor
smallest minimus Chironectes minimus
smooth, hairless glaber, leios/lios (λεῖος), psilos (ψιλός) Liopleurodon ("smooth-sided teeth")
spiny, thorny acantha (ακάνθα), echinos (ἐχῖνος) Polacanthus ("many thorns")
spiral, helix helix (ἕλιξ), strepsis (στρέψις) T. strepsiceros ("spiral horn")
squat, stocky pachys (παχύς)
star aster/astron (ἀστήρ, ἄστρον), stella Astrochelys ("star tortoise")
swollen, knobby tylos (τύλος) Tylopoda ("swollen feet")
sword-shaped ensatus Dicamptodon ensatus
thick crassus, hadros (ἁδρός), pachys (παχύς) Pachyrhinosaurus ("thick-nosed lizard")
thin plate elasmos (ελασμος) Elasmosaurus ("lizard with thin plates")
triangular triquetrus Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus
tube, pipe siphon (σίφων), solen (σωλήν) Solenogastres ("tube-shaped stomach")
turning, rolled strepsis (στρέψις) T. strepsiceros ("spiral horn")
upright, vertical erectus Homo erectus
wide crassus, eurys (εὐρύς), pachys (παχύς) Eurypterus ("wide fin")
wide opening, chasm chasma (χάσμα) Chasmosaurus ("wide hole lizard")
woolly, hairy erion (ἔριον), hirsutus, tomentosus, villosus Chaetophractus villosus
wrinkly, folded rhytis (ῥυτίς) Rytiodus ("wrinkly tooth")

Other features

ancestor avus, praecursor, progonos (πρόγονος) Proganochelys ("ancestral turtle")
assassin phoneus (φονεύς), sicarius Hoplophoneus ("armoured assassin")
beautiful calli/kalos (καλός), pulcher Callipepla ("beautiful robe")
blind caecus, typhlos (τυφλός) Typhlops ("blind face")
broken clastos (κλαστός) Osteoclast ("bone-breaker")
common, domestic communis, familiaris, vulgaris Canis lupus familiaris
common, thick, frequent criber, pycnos (πυκνός) Pycnogonida ("thick knees")
deceptive apate/apatelos (ἀπάτη/ἀπατηλός) Apatosaurus ("deceptive lizard")
dry xeros (ξηρός) Xerophyta ("drought plant")
dull, blunt amblys (ἀμβλύς) Amblypygi ("blunt rump")
edible edulis, esculentus Boletus edulis
electric electron (ἤλεκτρον) Electrophorus ("electricity bearer")
farmed, seeded sativus Oryza sativa
fast, quick tachys (ταχύς), velox/velocis Tachybaptus ("quick diver")
fearsome, terrifying deinos/dinos (δεινός) Deinonychus ("terrible claw")
feeble, faint amblys (ἀμβλύς)
flexible camptos (καμπτος) Camptosaurus ("flexible lizard")
flying volans Draco volans
friend, lover philos (φίλος) Spermophilus ("seed lover")
graceful, elegant elegans Eudromia elegans
heavy baros/barys (βαρύς), gravis, ponderosus Barosaurus ("heavy lizard")
herbaceous, grasslike oleraceus Brassica oleracea
hunter venator Afrovenator ("African hunter")
medicinal medicinalis, officinalis Hirudo medicinalis
moist hygros (ὑγρός) Hygrocybe ("moist head")
pleasant, tempting blandus
poisonous virosus Amanita virosa
shining, bright phaedros (φαιδρός)
showy, conspicuous speciosus Sphecius speciosus
slow bradys (βραδύς), tardus Bradypus ("slow foot")
stilt-walking grallator Bathypterois grallator
strong, powerful, robust dynamis (δύναμις), rhomaleon (ρομαλεον) Rhomaleosaurus ("strong lizard")
sweet dulcis, glycys (γλυκύς) Glycyrrhiza ("sweet root")
swimmer, swimming nectes (νήκτης), neustes (νευστός) Peloneustes ("mud swimmer")
thief, robber lestes (λῃστήσ), raptor Ornitholestes ("bird robber")
Conchoraptor ("seashell thief")
ugly cacos (κακός), foedus, turpis Cacops ("ugly face")
unpleasant aedes/aed- (ἀηδής) Aedes
used to dye tinctorius Carthamus tinctorius
variable poikilos (ποικίλος), variabilis Poekilopleuron ("varied ribs")
weird, extraneous, different xenos (ξένος) Xenopus ("strange foot")
wise, learned sapiens, sophos (σοφός) Homo sapiens
wonderful, admirable mirus Ophiacodon mirus


armour hoplos/oplia (οπλία) Panoplosaurus ("entirely armoured lizard")
belt, band cestos (κεστός), cestus, zone (ζώνη) Cestoda
boat, canoe scaphe (σκαφε) Scaphognathus ("boat-shaped jaw")
bottle ampulla Ampullariidae
chalice, cup ambux (ἄμβυξ)
chamber camara/camera (καμαρα) Cameroceras ("chambered horn")
club, stick bactron (βακτρον) Bactrosaurus ("club lizard")
coal anthrax/anthraco- (άνθραξ) Anthracotherium ("coal beast")
container ampulla, angeion/angion (ἀγγείον) Angiospermae ("contained seeds")
fire pyr/pyros (πυρ) Pyrotherium ("fire beast")
gold aurum, chrysos (χρυσός) Chrysanthemum ("golden flower")
honey mel/mellis Mellivora ("honey eater")
knife, saber smile (σμίλη) Smilodon ("saber tooth")
milk lac/lactis, galakta (γάλακτ-) Polygala ("abundant milk")
mud, clay pelon (πελον) Pelobates ("mud walker")
net dictyon (δικτυον) Dictyoptera ("net wings")
oil elaion (έλαιον), oleum Elaiosome ("oily body")
rod, staff rhabdos (ῥάβδος) Rhabdodon ("rod tooth")
rope, string nema/nematos (νῆμα) Nematophyta ("string plants")
saw pristis (πρίστις) Pristiophorus ("saw-bearer")
shield aspis/aspida (ασπίδα), scutum Cephalaspis ("head shield")
shovel lystron (λυστρον) Lystrosaurus ("shovel lizard")
spear ensis Ensifera ("spear-bearer")
stone, rock lithos (λίθος), petra (πέτρα) Lithops ("stone-like")
sword gladius, ensis, xiphos/xiphias (ξίφος) Xiphias gladius ("sword")
tile, shell ostracon (ὄστρακον) Ostracoderma ("shell-skin")
vessel, duct angeion/angion (ἀγγείον) Angiopteris ("leaves with vessels")
wedge sphen (σφήν) Sphenodon ("wedge-shaped tooth")
wheel cyclos (κύκλος) Cyclostomata
yoke zygon (ζυγόν) Zygorhiza ("yoke rooth")


African africanus/africana Loxodonta africana
American americanus/americana Ursus americanus
Asian asiaticus Charadrius asiaticus
Australian novaehollandiae Dromaius novaehollandiae
Chinese sinensis Camellia sinensis
Eastern orientalis Cynops orientalis
European europaeus Erinaceus europaeus
Indian indicus Tapirus indicus
Northern borealis Albertonykus borealis
Russian sarmaticus Ciconia sarmatica
Southern australis, nothos/notos (νότος) Australopithecus ("southern ape")
western occidentalis Sceloporus occidentalis


1 monos (μονός), unus Monodon ("one tooth")
2 bi-/bis, di (δι) Diceros ("two horns")
3 tres/tria (τρία) Trifolium ("three leaves")
4 tettares/tetra (τέτταρες, τετρα-), quattuor Tetrapoda ("four feet")
5 penta (πέντα), quinque Pentaceratops ("five-horned face")
6 hesa/hexa (ἕξα), sex Hexapoda ("six feet")
7 hepta (ἑπτά), septem Heptapteridae ("seven fins")
8 octa/octo (ὀκτα-, ὀκτω-) Octopoda ("eight feet")
9 ennea (ἐννέα), novem Enneapterygius ("nine fins")
10 deca (δέκα), decem Decapoda ("ten feet")
11 endeca (ἕνδεκα), undecim C. undecimpunctata ("eleven-spotted")
12 dodeca (δώδεκα), duodecim Dodecatheon ("twelve gods")
100 centum, ekato (εκατό) Centipede ("a hundred feet")
1000 chilia (χίλια), mille/milli- Chilopoda ("a thousand feet")
both kinds, both sides ambi, amphi (ἀμφί) Amphibia ("life on both sides")
double, twofold diplo (διπλός) Diplodocus ("double beam")
first protos (πρῶτος) Protopterus ("first/primitive fin")
halved, divided in two dicha (δίχα) A. dichotoma ("cut in two")
in five parts quinque-
in four parts quadri-
second deuteros (δεύτερος) Deuerostomia ("mouth as second")
single, isolated monos (μονός) Trichomonas ("hairy single")
twice dis (δίς)


all, everyone holon (ὅλον), universus Holozoa ("all the animals")
all, entirely pan/panto (πᾶν, παντός), cunctus Pantopoda ("made entirely of feet")
ancient, old archaeos (ἀρχαῖος), palaeos (παλιός) Palaeotherium ("ancient beast")
apex, peak acron (ἄκρον) Acrocanthosaurus ("high-spined lizard")
behind opisthe (οπισθή) Opistobranchia ("gills behind")
break, crush clao (κλάω) Claosaurus ("broken lizard")
carry, bearer fer, eso (οἰσέ[μεν]), phorus (φορέας) Nicrophorus ("dead-carrier")
cold cryos (κρυος) Cryolophosaurus ("crested lizard of cold")
cut, incision temnein/temno (τέμνειν) Temnospondyli ("cut vertebrae")
Oxytoma ("sharp cut")
dawn, origin eos (ἠώς) Eoraptor ("dawn thief")
day hemera (ημέρα) Hemerocallis ("beautiful by day")
dead, corpse necros (νεκρός) Necropsittacus ("dead parrot")
destruction, consumption lysis (λυσις)
different, diverse heteros (ἕτερος) Heterodontosaurus ("different teeth lizard")
different, other allos (ἄλλος) Allosaurus ("different lizard")
eat, devour phago (φάγο), voro Borophagus ("gluttonous eater")
equal, similar homeos/homo (ὅμοιος), iso- (ἴσος) Homoptera ("equal wings")
end telos (τέλος)
far, distant tele (τηλε)
fear phobia/phobos (φοβία, φόβος)
few, little oligos (ολιγος) Oligochaeta ("few bristles")
flow, flux rhea/rhoia (ῥοία)
front prose (πρόση) Prosobranchia ("gills in the front")
heat, warmth thermos (θερμός)
hidden cryptos (κρυπτός) Cryptodira ("hidden neck")
home, house eco/oikos (οἷκος)
imitator mimos (μῖμος) Gallimimus ("chicken mimic")
life, living bios (βίος), zoe (ζωή) Amphibia ("life on both sides")
light lux/lucis, phos (φῶς) Photuris ("luminous tail")
many poly (πολύς) Polypodium ("many feet")
nature physis (φύσις)
new neos (νέος) Neocathartes ("new vulture")
new, recent caino/ceno (καινός) Cainotherium ("recent beast")
night nyx/nycto (νύξ) Icaronycteris ("nocturnal Icarus")
opposite, specular enantios (ἐνάντιος) Enantiornithes ("opposite birds")
part, portion meros (μέρος)
ruler, power arche/arco- (ἀρχή) Archosauria ("ruling lizards")
run, runner dromos (δρόμος) Dromaeosaurus ("running lizard")
similar to mimos (μῖμος) Gallimimus ("chicken mimic")
simple haplos (ἁπλόος) Haplocanthosaurus ("simple spined lizard")
size, measure metron (μετρώ) Dimetrodon ("teeth of two lengths")
soon, premature praecox Allium praecox
sprout, embryo blastos (βλαστός)
stench bromos (βρῶμος), mephitis Mephitis mephitis
Sun helios (ἥλιος) Heliozoa ("Sun-like animals")
surface hedra (ἕδρα)
thick, dense dasys (δασύς) Dasypus ("hairy feet")
thunder bronte (βροντη) Eubrontes ("true thunder")
true, real verus
united zygos (ζυγός) Zygoptera ("united wings")
wind anemos (ἄνεμος) Anemone ("[daughter] of the wind")
wonder, marvel, miracle thauma (θαῦμα) Thaumoctopus ("marvelous octopus")
wound, tear drypto (δρύπτω) Dryptosaurus ("tearing lizard")
wrong, false nothos (νόθος), pseudo (ψευδής) Nothosauroidea ("false lizards")

Particles and appositions

above, on, upon epi (ἐπί), hyper (ὑπέρ), super/supra Epidendrum ("upon trees")
again, backwards, upwards ana (ἀνά) Anableps ("glance upwards")
all, complete, entire pan/panto (πᾶς, παν-, παντο-) Pantopoda ("entirely of feet")
around peri (περί) Peripatus ("walking around")
away from, far from apo (ἀπό), ab- Apocynum ("away from dogs")
bad, unpleasant caco- (κακός) Cacomantis ("ill-boding prophet")
before pro (πρό), pre/prae- R. praecursor ("forerunner")
below hypo (ὑπό), sub- A. hypogaea ("underground")
beyond, on the other side hyper (ὑπέρ), meta (μετά), trans- Metazoa ("advanced animals")
entirely holo/olo (ὅλο) D. holocanthus ("entirely thorny")
good, well eu- (εὖ) Eusthenopteron ("good strong fin")
having, endowed with -atus Pulmonata ("with lungs, having lungs")
less meion/mio (μείων), minus Meiolania ("lesser roamer")
more pleion/plio (πλείων), plus Pliosaurus ("more lizard")
[name derived from a verb] -osis (-ωσις)
near, beside, almost para (παρά), anchi (αγχι) Anchiornis ("almost a bird")
no, no-, not ou/u- (οὐ), non
not, un-, lacking, without a/an- (ἀ-/ἀν) Anura ("without tail")
on the same side cis-
same, equal equi-, iso- (ἴσος), homo/omo (ὅμο) Homoptera ("equal wings")
similar to -oides (-οιδες) P. strigoides ("similar to an owl")
through dia (διά)