A therianthrope is a being that is part animal, part human. The usual meaning of the related adjective therianthropic is of a god that is represented as combining animal and human forms.
The best known examples are the animal-headed gods of ancient Egypt, such as Bast (with the head of a cat) or Anubis (whose head was that of a jackal). The noun is rarer, but it appeared recently in reports of investigations into ancient cave art. The researchers found that some showed hybrid beings, such as cat-headed humans or men with the heads of antelopes. They argued these are the ancient relatives of such mythical human-animal hybrids as the minotaur (which had a man’s body but a bull’s head), satyr (part human, part goat), and werewolf.
In the last of these, the creature exhibits its animal and human aspects serially rather than simultaneously, an extension of the usual definition, though a usage that is common online, and one that has been applied equally to other human-animal transformations. The word combines the Greek therion, wild animal, with anthropos, human being.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
Lie Doggo; Fewmet; Dingbat; Kibosh; Caucus; Oryzivorous; Kick the bucket; Satisficer; Beside oneself; Words of the Year 2015; Peradventure; Sconce; Orchidelirium; How’s your father; Goon; Emoji; Thank your mother for the rabbits; Nonplussed; Bob’s-a-dying; Methinks; Bill of goods; Binge-watching; Codswallop; That’s all she wrote; Great Scott.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!