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Footprints on Language

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Animals leave their footprints in several English words, including chatoyant, or “shimmering like a cat’s eyes” and sleuth, which is short for sleuth-hound, a kind of bloodhound used for sniffing out prey. Pets have also inspired lots of playful terms. For example, when a cat leaves its tongue out, that’s a blep. A blop is a “little blep.” A boop is “a gentle tap on a critter’s nose,” or snoot, so if a friendly pup is nearby, you can reach out and boop a snoot. Mlem is a cats’ gentle licking of its whiskers. Other such terms include doggos and puppers and pupperinos. A sploot is when a dog or cat or squirrel lies on its tummy with limbs outstretched. This is part of a complete episode.

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