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Leonine derives from Latin leo, meaning "lion," which in turn comes from Greek leōn. Leōn gave us an interesting range of words: leopard (which derives from leōn combined with pardos, a Greek word for a panther-like animal); dandelion (which came by way of the Anglo-French phrase dent de lion—literally, "lion's tooth"); and chameleon (which combines leōn with the Greek chamai, meaning "on the ground"); as well as the names Leo, Leon, and Leonard. But the dancer's and gymnast's leotard
is not named for its wearer's cat-like movements. Rather, it was simply
named after its inventor, Jules Leotard, a 19th-century French aerial
Examples of LEONINE
"Jamie has a leonine aspect, with a high clear brow and soft curls eddying over his ears and along his collar."
— Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Harper's, March 2009
"You're a kid; you want to escape. Maybe to Edwardian
England, maybe to an island of dancing lemurs, maybe through the rear
of a magical wardrobe into a land of snow and ice waiting for a leonine king to bring back the sun."
— Lawrence Toppman, The Charlotte Observer, 9 Mar. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary
The body of the mythical griffin is composed of parts from what two creatures?