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I had recently appeared for an English Olympiad, and this particular question confused me:

Q) Choose the odd pair:

  1. A. cat:feline

    B. monkey:simian

    C. horse:stallion

    D. cow:bovine

Now, the problem is that, in the 1st two options, the animals look like each other; but in the last two options, the animals are pairs.

Which is the correct option?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

This is a very standard relationship question: a cat is feline, a monkey is simian, and a cow is bovine, but a horse is not (necessarily) a stallion. The parallel term for a horse would be equine.

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I completely agree with you that a parallel term for horse should be equine, but a cow and bovine can be pairs in the same way as a horse and stallion. What do you think, Martha? – Logophile Feb 12 '11 at 18:10
@Logophile: not with any meaning of "bovine" I know. A male bovine animal is a bull, and a neutered bull is a steer, so either cow:bull or cow:steer might be considered pairs, but all of them are equally described by "bovine". – Marthaª Feb 12 '11 at 18:14
Yeah, right. Thanks for the help, though! – Logophile Feb 12 '11 at 18:16
@Logophile: perhaps what you’re thinking of is the fact that bovine can also function as a noun? It’s true, it can; but so can feline, simian, equine, and they all still remain generic — if anything, more generic than cat, horse, etc. — unlike stallion, which is quite specifically a male horse. – PLL Feb 12 '11 at 18:42

Horse:stallion is the odd one out.

Feline is an adjective, meaning “cat-like or related to cats”.

Simian is an adjective, meaning “monkey-like or related to monkeys”.

Stallion is a noun, meaning “male horse”.

Bovine is an adjective, meaning “cow-like or related to cows”.

[Edit: feline, simian, bovine can all also function as nouns, meaning “cat-like animal”, etc.]

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Between feline, simian, stallion, and bovine, stallion is the only word that is only a noun; the other words are both an adjective and a noun.

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