from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or belonging to the subfamily Anserinae, which comprises the geese.
  • adjective Of or resembling a goose; gooselike.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Relating to or resembling a goose, or the skin of a goose: sometimes applied to the skin when roughened by cold or disease (goose-flesh).
  • Hence Stupid as a goose; foolish; silly.
  • Specifically, in ornithology, resembling a goose or duck so closely as to be included in the family Anatidœ; being one of the Anatidœ.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Pertaining to, or resembling, a goose, or the skin of a goose.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) Pertaining to the Anseres.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective zoology Being from the subfamily Anserinae of the family Anatidae.
  • adjective Of, concerning, or resembling a goose or geese; gooselike.
  • adjective Silly, foolish, stupid.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective of or resembling a goose
  • adjective having or revealing stupidity


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin ānserīnus, pertaining to geese, from ānser, goose; see ghans- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin anserīnus, from anser ("goose").



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  • nothing to do with serine...?

    August 22, 2008

  • Nope! Geese. Unless geese have serine, which they could for all I know. :-)

    Apparently it also means "silly," as in "silly goose."

    August 22, 2008

  • Nice, rt. I love these -ine animal words, especially if they can be used figuratively. Now I'll have to think of a use for "anserine."

    August 22, 2008

  • I like them too. Papageno's list (see right) is quite exhaustive, and I believe sionnach has a nice gang on his list of "Beastly Adjectives."

    August 22, 2008

  • The -ine suffix is very, very, very common since it's the subfamily suffix. But I like the figurative sense!

    August 22, 2008

  • Railroad telegraphers' shorthand meaning "has been answered". --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906.

    January 20, 2013

  • Some goose virtues are truly fine

    But its silly image needs a shine.

    This we'll do simply:

    When flesh grows pimply

    It will now be called toile anserine.

    I tinkered these lines together and then paused to reflect: I am growing wiser to the ways of the Wordnikians when they gather round a trencher of haggis to plot the next Word of the Day. I figured there had to be something goosey about May 1. It took a little looking because May 1 is festooned with associations, but since 1987 it has been Mother Goose Day! I figure it is only right to salute the old girl:

    Our thanks, dear Gran, for rhyme and line

    To seed our childhood memory mine.

    With praise profuse

    We hail Mother Goose

    And declare May One most anserine.

    May 1, 2014