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A Word A Day — flehmen

Good evening Netizena…

March 27, 2013

Word of the Day

  • flehmen
  • audio pronunciation
  • \FLAY-mun\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: a mammalian behavior (as of horses or cats) in which the animal inhales with the mouth open and upper lip curled to facilitate exposure of the vomeronasal organ to a scent or pheromone
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The vet explained to the children that what appeared to be a display of anger in the cat was actually a behavior called flehmen.

“One of the behavioural components of male sexual display in all hoofed stock except the pig is the 'olfactory reflex' known as flehmen. In this reflex, [the] animal fully extends the head and neck, contracts the nares and raises the upper lip while taking shallow respiration.” — From an article by S. Gul in the Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences, September 30, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Flehmen” comes to English by way of German, in which language the word applies to animals and means “to curl the upper lip.” The German source of the English word is a verb, and the English word is also used—albeit rarely—as a verb, as in “the horse flehmened.” More often, though, the verbal form is actually a gerund: “the horse's flehmening.” “Flehmen” is sometimes capitalized in English, as nouns are in German, but more often it is lowercase.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave


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