Week forty-one: LINSANG (probability 11884), by David Sutton

A LINSANG is a slender animal of Borneo and Java, looking like a cross between a cat and a large weasel; the name is also applied to related animals in the Himalayas and West Africa. It is actually neither cat nor weasel, being a VIVERRID, a member of the civet family, which includes several rather shy animals that are probably not very well known, at least in this country, along with one or two that have achieved more prominence through exposure in the media, like the MEERKAT (or MEERCAT), aka SURICATE, and the MONGOOSE or MUNGOOSE. (By the way, MONGOOSES or MONGEESE but only MUNGOOSES not MUNGEESE*; MONGEESE is an abomination anyway as the -GOOSE element has nothing to do with the bird, the name deriving from Marathi mangus).

The less well known members of the family include the BINTURONG of SE Asia (the name is Malay), the MUSANG (another Malay word), the DELUNDUNG or weasel cat of Java, taking its name from the Javanese, the RASSE, also from the Javanese, the ZIBET (or ZIBETH) and the GENET or GENETTE (French, but ultimately from the Arabic jarnait). African members of the family include the NANDINE or palm civet and the FOSSA or FOUSSA, Madagascar's largest carnivore (the plural of FOSSA is FOSSAS, but FOSSAE exists as a plural of FOSSA in the unrelated sense of an anatomical pit or depression).

Finally, should your opponent play PARADOX, you just might get the opportunity to extend it to PARADOXURE, another civet-like carnivore of southern Asia. Or even to PARADOXURINE, which sounds like a bladder complaint but is actually the adjective from PARADOXURE. If you really want to know, PARADOXURE comes from the Greek para, beyond, plus oura, tail, whereas PARADOX, the logical contradiction, comes from Greek para, beyond, plus doxa, opinion. So there is nothing paradoxical about the paradoxure.


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