Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to, or resembling, a goose, or the skin of a goose.
  • adj. Pertaining to the Anseres.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

  • adj. of or resembling a goose
  • adj. having or revealing stupidity

Etymologies

Latin ānserīnus, pertaining to geese, from ānser, goose; see ghans- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin anserīnus, from anser ("goose"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • To my knowledge,'anserine' is a perfectly respectable, albeit uncommon, adjective in our language.

    Uncommon Valor: Protecting Humanity for Flock's Sake

  • And that one was the victim of anserine necrophilia.

    It's A Bird's Life!

  • It is all very easy for you, middle-aged reader, sitting over this page in the broad daylight, to call me by all manner of asinine and anserine unchristian names, because I had these fancies running through my head.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 25, November, 1859

  • The gaff is blown, the anserine guard gives tongue with might and main.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 102, February 6, 1892

  • We have "progressed" from the manly independence and fierce patriotism of our forebears to a namby-pamby foreign policy that compels our citizens abroad to seek protection of the consuls of other countries from the spirit that made our flag respected in every land and honored on every sea, to the anserine cackle of "jingoism" whenever an American manifests a love of country or professes a national pride.

    The Complete Works of Brann the Iconoclast, Volume 12

  • You are the state's hired hand, Charlie boy -- duly employed to remain at Austin and display your anserine ignorance in the governor's office.

    The Complete Works of Brann the Iconoclast, Volume 10

  • Uncle Sam would have supposed this simian hubbub and anserine to-do meant nothing less than a new epocha for the universe, it being undecided whether it should be auriferous or argentiferous -- an age of gold or a cycle of silver.

    The Complete Works of Brann the Iconoclast, Volume 1.

  • Since then he had respected her person, but to the day of his death he had cursed her for anserine stupidity.

    The Belovéd Vagabond

  • One of their most charming bits of classic art is the famous miniature statue of the Gooseman; and the real name of the great Gutenberg, who, by his invention of printing, did more than any other mortal to make it easy for the human race to acquire the anserine mental habits, and the anserine moral characteristics, was Gänsfleisch!

    Germany and the Germans From an American Point of View

  • Perhaps the village lights embarrassed them, or perhaps the constant changes in the face of the country, from the clearings then going on, introduced into the landscape features not according with the ideal map handed down in the anserine family, and thus deranged its traditional geography.

    Earth as Modified by Human Action, The~ Chapter 02 (historical)

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

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

    January 20, 2013

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

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • nothing to do with serine...?

    August 22, 2008