Z is for Zoomorphism | #AtoZChallenge


Zoomorphism is the device of giving animal-like qualities to humans, gods, and inanimate objects. It can include giving the features of one animal to another.

Therianthropy is a special class of zoomorphism where a human is able to shape-shift into an animal.


The word zoomorphism comes from the Greek words ζωον (zōon), which means “animal,” and μορφη (morphē), which means “shape” or “form.”

Difference between zoomorphism and anthropomorphism

Zoomorphism is the opposite of anthropomorphism.

  • Anthropomorphism involves giving human characteristics and qualities to animals or deities.
  • Zoomorphism involves giving animal qualities to humans.

Examples of Zoomorphism

1. Many superheroes have superpowers that involve animals.

  • Spiderman
  • Ant Man
  • Batman
  • Catwoman
  • Black Panther

2. Some idiomatic phrases in English are examples of zoomorphism.

  • She was barking up the wrong tree by questioning him.
  • The trade deal ruffled some feathers in the company.

GIF from giphy.com

Zoomorphism in literature

Fiction writing

Zoomorphism is found in mythology, folklore, religion, classical literature, and modern genre fiction such as science fiction, fantasy, and comic books.


Gods were represented in animal form in several different religions: the deity Ganesha (the elephant-headed god in Hinduism), or the Holy Spirit in Christianity (represented with a dove).

Classical literature

“In classical literature, the sphinx played an important role in the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles …”

Zoomorphism is common in examples of comparing a person’s features, movements, or characteristics to an animal. This popular device aids in describing a new character to a reader.

Examples in literature

Examples here from Othello (William Shakespeare), The Golden Compass (Phillip Pullman), Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling), and more. Quiz included.


Zoomorphism, Literary Devices, literarydevices.com.

All the posts: Components of Literature A to Z

Wrapping Up the A to Z Blogging Challenge

About Eva Blaskovic

I am a multi-genre author of literary fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, and writer of non-fiction articles on parenting, writing, education, health, and travel. My background encompasses both the sciences and the arts. I teach at a specialized clinic for learning disorders and mentor young authors. In addition to writing and teaching, my passions are weather, Indian food, gardening, and music. I have played eight musical instruments and spent many years immersed in taekwondo and karate. In my youth, I was an avid canoeist. I was born in Prague, Czech Republic, grew up in the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where I raised four children.
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10 Responses to Z is for Zoomorphism | #AtoZChallenge

  1. Pingback: Theme Reveal: Blogging from A to Z Challenge (April 2017) | Beyond the Precipice

  2. Iain Kelly says:

    Yet another interesting one to finish on. Your month of entries makes a valuable writing guide! Well done and I look forward to reading more on your blog in the future. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dana Wayne says:

    Learn something new every day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Special Feature: Taxing Tax Time — Part 2 | #AtoZChallenge Finale | Beyond the Precipice

  5. Pingback: Wrapping Up the A to Z Challenge — Did You Survive? | #AtoZChallenge | Beyond the Precipice

  6. oh, this has a name as well. Glad to know.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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