word of the day: versipellis

Versipellis is an old term that means “shapeshifting” or “shapechanging” and at one time was used in reference to werewolves.

Although you hardly ever hear the term versipellis anymore, you may be more familiar with the words from which it is derived! It is derived from the word “versus” which means “turned” and “pellis” which means “skin”. It therefore literally translates to “turned-skin“. The word “turnskin” has and is often used to describe werewolves! It refers to someone that changes their skin at will – shapeshifters – or more specifically and most notably werewolves!!

It’s also interesting to note that the term “turncoat” also traces its roots to versipellis…turncoat is much more common in today’s language, and is probably a term that you’ve heard before. It is also referring to a “shift” or a “change”, but not a physical shift….a turncoat is someone that changes allegiance.

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2 Responses

  1. she wolf says:

    Wow! So thats the werewolves name from the past. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Stellaluxa says:

    I already knew this word from Latin class…how ironic…

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