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Etymology: Henry Colley March, a British physician and amateur archaeologist, devised the word in 1889 by combining the Greek skeuos, which means container or implement, with morphē, a reference to shape.

Meaning: In an age deeply preoccupied with ornament, March offered a handy term for a common but often awkwardly described kind of decoration. “The forms demonstrably due to structure require a name, ” he wrote. “If those taken from animals are called zoomorphs and those taken from plants phyllomorphs, it will be convenient to call those derived from structure skeuomorphs.” The lion foot at the base of a chair leg is a zoomorph, and a foliated wrought iron gate


This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Three

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