I'm after a very specific word, so for the purpose of illustrating the desired meaning, let's imagine nigh-tornado-like winds are whizzing around outside and that I have unusually wide, outstretched ears; lots of surface there. As I trudge to the store, cursing under my breath, I notice folding in my satellite dish ears slightly loosens the winds' grip on me. I start to wonder if there's a word to describe this unfortunate quality of my ears.

Armed with a thesaurus, I went on an adventure to find the right word. Sadly, the only thing it turned up was the adjective inefficient, which does not quite capture the "object or a part of an object which catches/blocks air when the object is in movement (thereby slowing it down)" sense or its hypothetical adjective.

So my question is: Is there a word that would describe the quality of an object to block air, thus slowing it down, i.e. the opposite of aerodynamically efficient? I'm not finicky about it, so both adjectives and nouns are fine.

You can (and are encouraged) to make up words on the spot. A fascinating example I nicked off a reddit thread is aerostagnant.

Since one of the tags requires an example:

My ears are as __ as a parachute.

  • A parachute acts as a brake. Is brake the kind of word you need?
    – NVZ
    Feb 4, 2017 at 18:27
  • That's good. I was still kind of hoping to get a noun I could more easily turn into an adjective, but thanks anyway! Brake is good. Feb 4, 2017 at 18:38

3 Answers 3


You should consider the noun sail (the ears in question are emulating the behavior of sails by catching wind) - refer to definition (2) below from ODO. There appears to be an adjective form saily too.

My ears are as saily as a parachute.


sail NOUN

1 A piece of material extended on a mast to catch the wind and propel a boat, ship, or other vessel.
‘all the sails were unfurled’

2 Something resembling a sail in shape or function, in particular.
‘The need for an inexpensive way to get around the solar system is driving research into "solar sails."’

2.1 A wind-catching apparatus, typically one consisting of canvas or a set of boards, attached to the arm of a windmill.


a. 1. Like a sail.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.

Another adjective related to sail (thanks to Drew) is saillike.


Adjective saillike ‎(not comparable)
Having the form of a sail

  • Wow, this is just perfect! My only worry is that saily somehow sounds a bit off, but that's never stopped me from using a cool word that happens to perfectly fit my use case. Feb 4, 2017 at 18:41
  • Also: sail-like.
    – Drew
    Feb 4, 2017 at 18:44
  • Yes, sail-like! Thought about it initially but somehow it slipped out of my mind. Feb 4, 2017 at 18:47
  • Sail-like sounds even better! It's a little awkward if you use an intensifier like so, though, in which case I feel saily works better. I'll give it few hours and if nothing more fitting comes up, I'm accepting this. Feb 4, 2017 at 18:51

In a way, you could use air-resistant, as in "my ears are as (air) resistant as a parachute".

It is not really a single word, and it doesn't sound fun either. But it is used in some technical papers. For example, "The calculated values of the relative humidity for high air-resistant material show better correspondence to the..."

  • That's actually just as good as saily. We're on the same page here as to the register it's acceptable in being an advantage -- it can be used in a more formal context without any fear of it being "corrected". Feb 4, 2017 at 18:55

Them ears have a serious drag coefficient.


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