Printable Version
Pronunciation: si-nê-fail Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Dog-lover (antonym of cynophobe).

Notes: This word is not so beautiful as ailurophile "cat-lover" and, perhaps, that is why it hasn't gained as much popularity as that word. A more sophisticated word for the bond between humans and dogs is cynophilia and the adjective is cynophilic.

In Play: Although this word may be found in pet and dog magazines, only two online dictionaries list it: "Two of the most popular pets are dogs and cats; the technical term for a cat lover is an ailurophile and a dog lover a cynophile." —Pet Magazine Here is one I just made up: "Justin Case must be a true cynophile; I seldom see him without his dog."

Word History: This word, like others containing -philia, is a recent combination of Hellenic components kyon, kyno- "dog" + philia "affection". Greek kyon came from PIE k'uon- "dog", which also went into the making of Latin canis "dog", Albanian qen "dog", Welsh kwn "dogs", Irish cú "hound", English hound, and Danish and Swedish hund "dog", German Hund "dog", and Dutch hond "dog". Since [k'] became [s] in the eastern PIE languages, we find Sanskrit suva, sunas "dog", Armenian šun "dog", Lithuanian šunys "dogs", and Russian sobaka "dog". No one seems to know how philia came to be in Greek. (Let's confer on George Kovac the degree of honorary Grand Panjandrum for his activity in the Agora and long string of grand Good Words like today's.)

Dr. Goodword,

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