Week eighty-two: MYTILOID (probability 22039), by David Sutton

MYTILOID means like a mussel or mussel-shaped, from the Latin mytilus, mussel. It would seem to be a word of rather limited usefulness, since not much is shaped like a mussel except a mussel, and to say that a mussel is mussel-shaped doesn't get one very far. But far be from it Scrabble players to question the gifts that lexicographers shower upon them.

There are a quite a number of these highly specific –OID words, and they are tricky because some, like MYTILOID, are purely adjectival while others can also be nounal and take –S. Here are just a few of them:

LIMULOID(of or like) a member of the king crab family
GOBIOID(of or like) a fish of the goby family
MANATOIDof or like a manatee. No –S.
PEZIZOIDresembling a fungus of the genus Peziza; having a cuplike form. [This is very high on my wish-list of improbable words I have yet to play].
PHACOIDshaped like a lens or lentil. No –S.
SCINCOID(of or like) a member of the skink family
VESPOIDof wasps


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