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hymeneal

List of irregular English adjectives

For the purposes of this article, an "irregular adjective" is an adjective of relation that is not derived from the same root as the corresponding noun, or is based on the same root but in a way that is non-intuitive even to a native English speaker. These are also called collateral adjectives.

A list of nouns and their irregular adjectives follows. You can use this to look up an irregular adjective from the noun—a facility which many dictionaries do not offer. Some of the adjectives have a similar noun form, which acts as an alternative noun (for example, the adjective for "business" is given as "commercial", which has the corresponding noun "commerce").

Some nouns have both irregular and regular adjectives corresponding to them. In many such cases, the regular adjective is the one in everyday use; the irregular form either is a technical usage or is used for effect. Where, in everyday English speech or writing, the equivalent regular adjective is much more likely to be used than any of the irregular alternatives, it is given in square brackets. This does not mean that the regular adjective is a perfect synonym of all or indeed any of the irregular forms.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - W - Y

A

  • abdomen (belly) – ventral, alvine, [abdominal]
  • abdominal cavity – c(o)eliac, visceral
  • actor, acting – histrionic (more commonly means overly theatrical, applied not just to actors), thespian (often facetious)
  • adjective – epithetic, [adjectival]
  • aesthetic pleasure – sensuous
  • aging, the aged – geriatric, gerontic
  • agriculture – geoponic, georgic(al), [agricultural]
  • air – pneumatic, aerial
  • alphabet – abecedarian, [alphabetic]
  • amber – succinic
  • animal – zoic, zoological
  • ankle bone – astragalar
  • ant – formic, myrmecological
  • antimony – stibial
  • ape (or monkey) – simian
  • Aphrodite – cytherean
  • apple – malic, pomaceous
  • aristocracy – genteel, [aristocratic]
  • arm – brachial
  • armpit – axillary
  • arrangement – tactic
  • arrow – sagittal
  • ash (cinders) – cinerary
  • ass (animal) – asinine
  • author – auctorial

B

  • baby – infantile (often derogatory, except in medical usage); see also child/children
  • back (anatomy) – dorsal, lumbar (lower part of back)
  • back of the head (also called the occiput) – occipital
  • badger – meline
  • barber – tonsorial
  • bat (animal) – chiropteran, vespertilian
  • bathroom – lavatorial, lavatory
  • baths, bathing – balneal
  • bear – ursine
  • bee – apian
  • beeswax – cerotic
  • beginning – initial
  • bell – tintinnabulary
  • bile – cholic
  • bird – avian, ornithic, volucrine
  • bird of prey – raptorial
  • birth – natal, parturient
  • birthday – genethliac, [birthday]
  • bishop – episcopal
  • Black Sea – euxine
  • bladder – cystic, vesical
  • blood – h(a)emal, h(a)ematic, h(a)emic, h(a)ematal, sanguineous
  • blood vessels – vascular
  • boat – see ship
  • bodily motion – gestic
  • body – corporal, corporeal, physical, somatic, carnal, [bodily]
  • bone – osseous, osteal, osteoid, [bony]
  • book – bibliographic
  • boxing – pugilistic, fistic
  • brain – cerebral, cerebric, encephalic
  • branch – ramal, ramiform
  • branching patterns – ramiferous, cladistic
  • bread – panary
  • breast – mammary, mammilary
  • breastbone – sternal
  • breeding season – nuptial
  • bridge – pontine
  • brother – fraternal
  • bud – blastous
  • building – edificial
  • bull – taurine
  • business – commercial
  • butter – butyric [buttery]
  • butterfly – papilionaceous, lepidopterous (also applies to moths)
  • buttock – gluteal

C

  • car – automotive
  • cat – feline
  • chalk – Cretaceous
  • cheese – caseous, [cheesy]
  • chest (anatomy) – thoracic, pectoral
  • child – juvenile, puerile (usually derogatory); see also baby, [childish, childlike]
  • chin – mental
  • China – Sinitic, [Chinese]
  • china – ceramic
  • church - ecclesiastical
  • city – urban, civic, metropolitan
  • clock – horological
  • coin (or medal) – numismatic
  • comb – ctenoid
  • cooking – culinary
  • copper – cupric
  • countryside – rural, rustic, bucolic
  • cow – bovine
  • cross – cruciate
  • crossword – cruciverbal
  • crow – corvine

D

  • dance – terpsichorean
  • daughter (or son) – filial
  • dawn – auroral (see also twilight)
  • day – diurnal, [daily]
  • dean – decanal
  • deer – cervine
  • devil – diabolic(al), satanic, [devilish]
  • dog – canine
  • dream – oneiric
  • dusksee twilight

E

  • eagle – aquiline
  • ear – aural, otic
  • east – oriental, [easterly]
  • Easter – paschal
  • elbow – anconoid
  • end – final, terminal
  • evening – vespertine
  • eye – optic, ocular, ophthalmic
  • eyelid – palpebral

F

  • father – paternal, [fatherly]
  • finch – fringilline (also applies to other small birds)
  • finger (or toe) – digital
  • fire – igneous (now mostly refers to rock formed by solidification of magma), [fiery]
  • fish – piscatorial, piscine, ichthyic
  • flesh – carnal
  • flood – diluvial, diluvian, clysmian
  • fog – brumous, [foggy]
  • foot (anatomy) – pedal
  • forestry – arboricultural
  • four – quaternary
  • fox – vulpine
  • France – Gallic
  • frog – ranine, batrachian (also applies to toads)

G

H

  • hair – pilar
  • hand – manual
  • hare – leporine, lagomorphic (also applies to rabbits and pikas)
  • hearing – auditory, aural
  • heart – cardiac
  • heat – thermal
  • heather – ericaceous, [heather]
  • hip (anatomy) – sciatic
  • horse – equine

I

J

  • jaw (anatomy) – maxillary

K

  • kid- see child
  • kidney – renal, nephritic, nephric
  • king (or queen) – regal, royal

L

  • law – legal
  • lead (metal) – plumbeous
  • left (direction) – sinistral
  • leg – crural
  • letter (missive) – epistolary
  • life – vital
  • light (physics) – optic(al)
  • lion – leonine
  • lip (anatomy) – labial
  • liver (anatomy) – hepatic
  • lizard – saurian
  • love (sexual) – amatory, amorous
  • lung – pulmonary

M

  • machine – mechanical
  • man – masculine, virile (particularly emphasising strength and vigour)
  • marble – marmoreal
  • marriage – nuptial, conjugal, connubial, hymeneal
  • meal – prandial
  • meaning – semantic
  • milk – lactic, [milky]
  • mind – mental
  • mirror – specular
  • mist – brumous, [misty]
  • Monaco – Monégasque
  • money – pecuniary, financial
  • monkey (or ape) – simian
  • moon – lunar
  • morning – matinal
  • moth (or butterfly) – lepidopterous
  • mother – maternal, [motherly]
  • mouse – murine
  • mouth – oral

N

  • name – nominal
  • neck – cervical
  • nephew – nepotal
  • nerve (anatomy) – neural
  • night – nocturnal
  • north – boreal, [northerly]
  • nose – nasal, rhinal

O

  • ocean – see sea, [oceanic]
  • oil – oleic, [oily]
  • owl – strigine

P

  • parish – parochial (now usually means narrow-minded)
  • peacock - pavonine
  • pearl – margaric
  • penis – phallic
  • (the) people – popular, demotic
  • pig – porcine
  • plant – botanic(al)
  • pottery – ceramic

Q

  • queen (or king) – regal, royal

R

  • rabbit – lagomorphic (also applies to hares and pikas)
  • rain – pluvial, [rainy]
  • religion – theological, [religious]
  • rib (anatomy) – costal
  • right (direction) – dextral
  • river – fluvial
  • river bank – riparian

S

  • San Marino – Sammarinese
  • sailor – nautical
  • Scotland – Caledonian, [Scottish]
  • sea – maritime, marine, pelagic
  • seal (animal) – otarine
  • sheep – ovine
  • shepherd – pastoral
  • ship – nautical, marine, naval (usually applies to warships)
  • shore – littoral
  • shrew – soricine
  • sight – visual
  • sign – semiotic
  • sister – sororal
  • skin – dermal
  • skull – cranial
  • sky – celestial
  • sleep – hypnoid, [sleepy]
  • slug (mollusc) – limacine
  • smell (sense) – olfactory
  • snake – serpentine
  • snow – niveous, [snowy]
  • son (or daughter) – filial
  • sound – sonic, acoustic
  • south – austral, [southerly]
  • Spain – Hispanic, [Spanish]
  • sparrow – passerine (also applies to other perching birds)
  • speech – verbal
  • spider – arachnoid
  • spring (season) – vernal, [spring-like]
  • squirrel – sciurine
  • stamps – philatelic
  • star – stellar, sidereal, astral
  • starch – farinaceous, amyloid, [starchy]
  • stomach – gastric (see also abdomen)
  • sulphur – thionic
  • summer – (a)estival,[summery]
  • sun – solar, [sunny]
  • surface – superficial
  • Switzerland – Helvetian, Helvetic
  • symbol – semiotic

T

  • table – mensal (especially dining table)
  • tail (anatomy) – caudal
  • tailor – sartorial
  • taste (sense) – gustatory
  • teacher – pedagogic(al) (now often derogatory)
  • ten – decimal
  • three – ternary
  • threshold – liminal
  • thunder – fulmineous
  • time – temporal
  • tin – stannic
  • toad (or frog) – batrachian
  • toe (or finger) – digital
  • tongue – lingual
  • tooth – dental
  • touch (sense) – tactile, haptic
  • town – urban
  • tree – arboreal, dendroid
  • truth – veracious, [truthful]
  • twilight – crepuscular (see also dawn)
  • two – dual, binary

U

W

  • walk – pedestrian, ambulant
  • wasp – vespine
  • water – aqueous, [watery]
  • wax – cerotic (specifically, beeswax), [waxy]
  • weasel – musteline, [weasely]
  • weather – meteorological
  • weddingsee marriage
  • week – hebdomadal
  • west – occidental, [westerly]
  • whale – cetaceous
  • wife – uxorial
  • wind – aeolian (British), eolian (US), [windy]
  • window – fenestral
  • wine – vinic
  • wing – alar
  • winter – hibernal, hiemal, [wintery]
  • wolf – lupine, [wolfish]
  • wood (area of trees) – sylvan
  • woman – feminine, [womanly]
  • word – lexical, verbal (usually refers to the spoken word)
  • wrist – carpal

Y

  • year – annual, [yearly]

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