[Generally it has been coined as] Obamadon

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon Dec 17 00:16:05 UTC 2012

On Dec 16, 2012, at 4:01 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 2:33 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> Researchers Name Millions-Year-Old Lizard _after President’s Name_
> That's true. But, how? [[obama][don]]? What does _don_ mean, in taxonomy?

it's a variant of -odont, the 'tooth' stem, with the -a of "Obama" swallowing up the -o

from Michael Quinion's affixes site, under -odont:

The ending -odont appears in adjectives that refer to the type of teeth possessed by animals. Examples are labyrinthodont, having the enamel deeply folded to form a labyrinthine structure; bunodont (Greek bounos, mound), having molar teeth with crowns in the form of rounded or conical cusps; diphyodont (Greek dis, twice, plus phuein, come into being), having two sets of teeth during its development, as humans do.

... Words ending in -odon have the same sense: mastodon, a large extinct elephant-like mammal of the Miocene to Pleistocene epochs (Greek mastos, breast, because it has nipple-shaped tubercles on the crowns of its molar teeth); iguanodon, a large herbivorous dinosaur of the early to mid Cretaceous period, named thus because its teeth resemble those of the iguana.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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