Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Celebrating the centennial of the most famous zoo in the US of A — ours, incorporated in December 1916 — I continue to offer a beastly column each and every month of this year: One hundred years ago, the world renown San Diego Zoo literally and figuratively started with a roar. At the close of the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park a group of caged animals from a small exhibit were about to be left behind along Park Boulevard. When San Diego surgeon Harry Wegeforth and his brother Paul were driving past the park on a warm September day in 1916, they heard the roar of a male lion. It was Rex, one of the animals in that exhibit.

Doctor Harry turned to his brother and mused, “Wouldn’t it be splendid if San Diego had a zoo? I think I’ll start one.” The roars of Rex and other captive lions kickstarted that dream to become a reality.

Speaking of Rex, the English used to call the yellow, shaggy weed a “lion’s tooth” because the jagged, pointed leaves resemble the lion’s snarly grin. During the early 14th century, the lion’s tooth plant took on a French flavor and became the dent-de- lion, “tooth-of-the-lion.” Then it acquired an English accent: dandelion.

We often refer to our fellow organisms that run and fly and swim and creep across the face of our planet as “dumb animals.” It is true that these creatures do not speak in the human sense of that word, but they have made thousands of contributions to the power of human speech. Some of these words and expressions involve the simple transfer of a marked animal characteristic to human activity, such as eagle-eyed and pigheaded. Others are harder to capture.

Dandelion is but one beastly example of how the creatures that grace the land, sea, and air also teem our tongues. In pecuniary, vaccinate and caper, for example, lurk the ungulates (hoofed mammals) bulls, cows and goats.

Pecu is the Latin word for cattle. Because wealth in ancient times was measured in heads of livestock, early metal coins were stamped with the head of a bull. From this time-honored association between cattle and money we have gained such words as pecuniary and impecunious.

For centuries, smallpox was a scourge of humanity, scarring and killing millions. Edward Jenner, a British doctor, noticed that milkmaids did not generally get smallpox and theorized that the pus in the blisters that these women developed from cowpox protected them from the more virulent smallpox. In 1796, Jenner found that inoculating people with a serum containing the lymph gland fluid of cows infected with cowpox virus prevented the similar smallpox. That’s why vaccine, vaccination and vaccinate house the Latin name for “cow,” vacca.

When people are capricious and caper about, they are acting like a frisky, playful billy goat. Caprice, capricious, caper and Capricorn all come to us from the Latin caper, “goat.” Goats caper through our English vocabulary:

• A goatee is a trimmed chin beard that resembles the tufts of hair on a goat’s chin. Perhaps the most famous goatee adorns the chin of our own Uncle Sam.

• A cabriolet was originally a light, two-wheeled vehicle drawn by one horse. The jaunty motion of the small carriage reminded some of the frisky leaps of a goat. Hence, cabriole, ultimately shortened to cab.

• The island of Capri is so named because of the goats that graze on it.

• And goats caper in one very common expression in American English. High-strung race horses are sometimes given goats as stable mates to calm them, and the two animals can become inseparable companions. Certain gamblers have been known to steal the goat attached to a particular horse that they want to run poorly the next day. By extension, when we get someone’s goat, we upset them and throw off their performance.

Biologically, a tadpole is a larval amphibian. Etymologically, tadpole is formed from the Middle English tode , “toad”+ polle , “head” because a tadpole looks like a toad that is all head, with the limbs to grow out later. The clipped form tad swam into American English around 1915 with the meaning “a small amount,” as in “a tad of sugar” and “a tad chilly.”

As for muscle , it is easy to see why the word derives from the Latin musculus — “ little mouse.” A twitching muscle resembles the movements of a small mouse beneath the skin.