4

I recall a long time ago reading a science-fiction book that contained a word to describe a character that I didn't recognise. When I looked it up, I learned it meant 'of or pertaining to bushes.'

It was a word ending in '-ine' like psittacine (pertaining to parrots) or ursine (pertaining to bears) but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

It's also proving impossible to google, with results ranging from "just use 'bushy' you cabbage" to pejoratives for certain US presidents...

Can anyone help?

  • Just a guess, bushline - The altitude above which indigenous forest does not grow or the contour at which the growth of the bush ceases? – Ubi hatt Mar 21 at 10:44
  • If you'd recognise it if you saw a part of it, it might be worth looking up Latin translations of "bush" or "shrub". – Pam Mar 21 at 10:48
  • The two most common Latin words for a bush or shrub that I can think of or find are dūmus (earlier dusmus) and frutex, but neither of those really has an -ine derivative. There’s dūmalis in Latin which might have given either dumal or further derived dumaline in English, but that doesn’t seem to exist (except, ironically, as a name, but that seems to be a variant of du Moulin ‘Miller’). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 21 at 16:36
  • Is it possible that the word wasn't about bushes per se, but about bushy hair? I know that L. Sprague de Camp coined the word "hyperpilosity" in the story "Hyperpilosity", for example. – user888379 Mar 21 at 18:58
  • 1
    I would say "bushy". – Hot Licks Mar 22 at 0:14
3

Sylvestral means of, like or pertaining to trees. But, I haven't came across any word ending with -ine that defines "of, like or pertaining to bushes." Similarly, I haven't came across any words which means "of, like or pertaining to "shrubs", or "herbs", or "plants", or "weeds" etc.

Perhaps, the word dumose or dumous from latine dumosus, franch dumus meaning a thornbush, a bramble is defined in Webster 1913 as:

From Webster 1913 https://www.websters1913.com/words/Dumose

(Botany) Having a compact, bushy form.

As you say, you found this word in a science fiction book. The author might have coined the term to mean- of, or relating to bushes.


NOTE: We can form a word: dumosusine or dumusine, by adding suffix -ine meaning of or relating to bushes. Though, Google presents no search results of dumosusine or dumusine.

-1

In science, the word commonly used to describe “bushy” (branching) structures is dendritic. It derives from the Ancient Greek dendron, meaning “tree” rather than “bush”, and it doesn’t end in -ine, so it is presumably not the word you saw.

I can’t easily find uses of “haimine”, “auline”, “thamnine” or “rhopine” (plausible Greek-rooted words for “bushy”), nor for “fruticine”, “paliurine” or “arbusculine” (Latin), though Wiktionary does list arbuscular. I think the suffix -ine is more common in adjectives with Latin roots, or at least, I can’t think of any Greek examples.

It may have been a word whose root doesn’t exactly mean “bush”, or a variation of one of the forms I tried, or based on a root that didn’t appear on sites I searched.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.