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Pronounced /rəˈsɔərɪəl/Help with pronunciation

A rasorial bird is one that scratches the ground for food.

In addition to the big game mentioned, the native ruffed grouse is of much significance to the wing shooter. This important member of the rasorial family of birds is found in abundance throughout the whole of this mountain country and also rightly deserves a place in the chapters to follow.

Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies, by Jim Gasque, 1948.

If you see a connection with razor, you’re right, because both words go back to a Latin original radere, meaning to scrape. The word derives immediately from the name Rasores that was given in 1811 to the group of birds, not only grouse but also turkeys, partridges and farmyard fowls, which obtain their food by scraping the ground. It is first recorded in 1833.

Rasorial has appeared, rather rarely, as an adjective relating to a rasor:

Everything we wear, even on our faces, makes a statement. Designer stubble could be taken to proclaim: “I am a trendy boy who does not bother with old fashioned rasorial conventions.” Jeeves, and older perfectionists, would consider it slack and rude.

The Times, 24 Feb. 2007.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 4 Jul. 1998
Last updated: 7 Jan. 2012

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-ras1.htm
Last modified: 7 January 2012.