W Is For… Were Are the Wheres?

WWerewolves.  They spawned a whole literature, and other creatures – cat shifters, dog shifters, bird shifters, snake shifters…

Recently, we were working with our editor at Red Quill and she pointed out that “lycanthrope” means, literally, werewolf:  from the Latin, and before that Greek, meaning wolf man.

It struck me by complete surprise.  I mean, I know that the meaning of lycanthrope is wolf man, but somehow I just extrapolated from there to all shifters being lycanthropes or catching lycanthropy – cat lycanthropy, dog lycanthropy, etc.  It doesn’t help that the genre seems to think that too, and has used lycanthropy as a catch-all term.  We batted around some ideas for things like felisthropy, but it sounded too contrived and goofy.

What about you, Dear Reader?
What words have stumped you, once you’ve discovered their true meanings?

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