July 22nd, 2016

cat in dress

Friday word: Zoosemiotics

A z-word for you ;)
zoosemiotics, n.: (zoh-uh-see-mee-ot-iks)

the study of the sounds and signals used in animal communication, as song in birds or tail-wagging in dogs.


The basic assumption of zoosemiotics is that, in the last analysis, all animals are social beings, each species with a characteristic set of communication problems to solve. Thomas A. Sebeok, Perspectives in Zoosemiotics, 1972

Perhaps, if Thomas Sebeok is right, the lizard is simply poor in zoosemiotics. To be sure, we may never know. John Mowitt, "Facing the Radio," Radio: Essays in Bad Reception, 2011


Zoosemiotics entered English in the 1960s. Its first element, zoo-, stems from the Greek zôion meaning "animal"; semiotics can be traced to the Greek sēmeîon meaning "sign."

(Source: Dictionary.com word of the day for 7/16/2016)