Saturday Morning OYs – March 18th, 2023

Getting triple duty from one little affix!

Since this is announced as dealing with puns, how could we pass it up?

Interesting – the cartoonist doesn’t actually show us the missing word, which must combine raccoon and centaur.


  1. Also, nicely drawn imagining of what a raccoon-centaur might look like – and still work as “your uncle”

  2. Raccontaur, usually (raccoontaur? racoontaur?) – at least, in RPGs and fantasy novels it’s usually (thing)taur. Foxtaur, for instance. Oddly, centaur doesn’t fit that…cen is not horse in any language I’m aware of. And I’d pronounce raccontaur and raconteur pretty much the same way, so that works very well for me.

  3. And I’m not sure where the “taur” comes from. There’s the Minotaur, which sounds like it could be half King Minos and half Taurus the Bull. (Don’t ask about the origin story. Trust me.) Then there’s the possibility that the centaurs resulted from something this guy named Kentauros did (again, don’t ask).

    “Taur” is like “Gate” in the word “Watergate” (after the Watergate Hotel in Washington) which became a thing for words about scandals like “Contragate”, the illicit funding of the “Contra” rebels. No gate was involved in funding the rebels.

  4. With last year’s anniversary of that incident at the hotel in Washington DC, I was expecting articles remembering “Watergate-gate”.


    A quick search suggests that “Centaur” is not divisible in terms of prefix/suffix and that Centaur and Minotaur are unrelated.

    The way the raccoon body is drawn is bothering me. They usually have their fore and hind legs closer together and an arched back. I do appreciate the word play though. 🙂

  5. Centaur comes from the name for a “savage” tribe, kentauros. The origins of that name are “obscure,” which is to say no one is really sure but there’s loads of guesses. It may come from the tribe being known for killing bulls (the tauros part, with ken- being from a term for piercing). It’s NOT related to the word for horse, which is hippo-, and according to Wikipedia “hippocentaur” is an obscure synonym.

    So, we’re looking at another -copter case of rebracketing. (Helicopter comes from helico- and -pter, but we’ve ignored that to get things like gyrocopter or batcopter.)

  6. Dana K said: I do enjoy how that first one invents a sort of “distributive law” for prefixes!

    Ah, I see! To spell it out, this is a picture of a unicorn with a unibrow above its eyes, riding on a unicycle.

  7. I also am fond of reminding people about the internal structure of helico-pter. Also please note that we do have -pter- (wing or feather) elsewhere in English, though generally in scientific words more than general usage, such as pterodactyl and lepidoptera.

  8. Related to helico-pter is alcohol-ism. We say “workaholic” when it seems the term should be “workic.”

  9. Grawlix – there were some TV shows including a storyline TV series with actors playing the various people involved. (And I am sure during at least one episode I was reading and posting on CIDU.)

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