Thursday, March 27, 2008


A number of words contain the element “boat-shaped.” That wouldn’t have been all that surprising centuries ago when boats were essential to travel and commerce, but boats are no longer in the ascendancy. Some of these words are quite literal, actually describing a boat, but many are based on analogy.

• cymbiform: boat-shaped. [L. cymba, boat]

• cymbocephalic: having a skull long and narrow, and, as viewed from above, somewhat boat-shaped. Also kumbo-kephalic [Gr. kumbe, boat]

• navicular: a boat-shaped bone in the ankle. [L. navis, ship]

• naviculoid: a diatom which has bilaterally symmetrical boat-shaped or spindle-shaped cells.

• naviform: boat-shaped

• scaphite: a cephalopod with a boat-shaped shell. [Gr. skaphe, boat]

• scaphocephalus: a boat-shaped head

• scaphoidal: boat-shaped; hollowed out

SIDEBAR: how shape affects speed

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