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Alternative forms[edit]


First attested in its present form in 1650–1660:[1] From Middle English hircyne[2], from Latin hircīnus (of a goat”, “goat-scented);[1][2][3][4] equivalent to hircus (a male goat)[2][4] + -īnus (-ine).[1] Cognate with French hircin[4]. Compare caprine, haedine.



hircine (comparative more hircine, superlative most hircine)

  1. (book word, not comparable) Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of goats.[1][2][3][4][5]
    • 1781, Thomas Pennant, History of Quadrupeds[1], volume 2, page 528:
      They are monſtrouſly fat, and have a moſt hircine ſmell.
    • 1838, Hypericaceæ, entry in The Penny Cyclopaedia, Volume 12, page 411,
      Many[plants of family Hypericaceae] are objects of ornament, but they are little cultivated because they have frequently a disagreeable hircine odour.
    • 1992, Helge Ingstad, Land of Feast and Famine[2], page 291:
      People always smiled a little when they looked at Skøieren, and it was surely true that this dog had a most whimsical appearance, practically lost as he was in the depths of his hircine coat of fur.
    • 1820, J. J. Virsey, The Natural History of Medicines, Aliments and Poisons, taken from the Kingdoms of Nature, The London Medical and Physical Journal, Volume 44, page 247,
      Linnæus formed seven classes of odours of medicines; namely, the aromatic, fragrant, ambrosiac, alliaceous, hircine, fetid, and nauseous.
  2. Possessed of an odour reminiscent of goats.[1][2][3][4][5]
  3. Libidinous; lustful.[1][3]


Derived terms[edit]



hircine (uncountable)

  1. (mineralogy)[3] A fossil amorphous resin which, when burnt, gives off a pungent, hircinous aroma.[3]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 hircine” defined by Dictionary.com Unabridged, © Random House, Inc. 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 “hircine” listed in The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 hircine, a. and n.” listed in the Oxford English Dictionary [2nd Ed.; 1989]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 “hircine” listed in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
  5. 5.0 5.1 “hircine” defined by WordNet® 3·0, © 2006 by Princeton University