Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a cat lover

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun ailurophile, sometimes spelled aelurophile, comes from the Greek words for ‘cat’ and ‘lover’. The first recorded citation is from the American Journal of Psychology in 1914. The term ‘ailurophobe’ meaning someone who dislikes or fears cats is from 1905.


This post is a little late to the party, as International Cat Day was last week, on 8 August. The annual celebration of domestic felines was started in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to raise awareness of cats and learn about ways to help and protect them. (There is an alternative celebration on Cat Day,  February 22.) The term ailurophile was submitted to the Open Dictionary in 2016 by a user in Albania, one of a number of dictionary entries meaning ‘a lover of someone or something’. Of course it is possible to express the same idea by simply putting the subject of the attraction in front of or after the word ‘lover’: an ailurophile is a cat lover just as an arctophile is a lover of teddy bears and a turophile is a cheese lover. A logophile is a lover of words and it is to such people that words such as ailurophile appeal most strongly.


“Bibliophiles tend to be ailurophiles , and both are tenacious breeds.”
(enTenTen15 corpus)

“When my cats aren’t happy, I’m not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they’re just sitting there thinking up ways to get even.”
(Penny Ward Moser)

Related words

feline, kitty, moggy, pussycat

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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