There is a category of adjectives that describe the nature of an item, for example:

  • arborial: of, relating to, or resembling a tree
  • leporine: of, relating to, or resembling a rabbit
  • crepuscular: of, relating to, or resembling twilight

However, I have been unsuccessful in finding a word that describes this category of words. Is there a name for this type of adjective?


If there isn't -- and I'm not aware of any such -- then I would suggest calling them "nominal adjectives", as their common feature is that they are adjectives based on some realtion or resemblance to a [fill in your noun here]. Although inventng new technical terms for English has been popular in recent years, I think this is another illustration of the fact that English doesn't really have any grammar. We all know the rule that in English "There ain't no noun that can't be verbed", but this question illustrates the principle that nouns can be freely adjectived. These examples seem unusal because the adjectiving is done on the basis of Latin nouns; in ordinary English, the adjectives would be "treelike", "rabbity", and "darkling".

  • Thank you, John. While it's an unsatisfying answer, I think it's the right one, so I'll accept it.
    – neontapir
    Jan 23 '18 at 15:26

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