How Leopards, Hippopotamuses, and 3 Other Animals Got Their Names

All animals were named by scientists. In this article, learn how leopards, hippos, and eight other animals got their names.


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“Leopard” itself means “lion-panther.” “Leon” is the Greek and Latin name for “Lion,” while “pard” is an Ancient-Greek word that now means “panther” or “leopard”


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Did you know that the word “hippo” or “hippopotamus” actually means “river horse” in Ancient Greek? “ἵππος” in greek means horse and is pronounced íppos. “ποταμός” means river and is pronounced potamós. Put the two together and you get íppos-potamós which roughly sounds like Hippopotamus. Read more from


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Platypuses have flat feet, which is exactly why their name is a Greek translation of “flat-footed:” πλατύπους, pronounced platýpous.


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Octopuses have eight tentacles. Similar to the platypus, octopus means eight-footed in Greek. A direct translation would be οκταπόδι, pronounced oktapódi.

Bald Eagles:

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Bald eagles might seem wrongly named because they are not actually bald, but that’s not why they were named that. The Anglo-Saxon (Old English) word for white is “balde” and bald eagles have white heads.

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