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Anthropoid vs Anthropomorphic vs Anthropomorphous

Anthropoid, anthropomorphic and anthropomorphous all mean resembling man.

Anthropoid in its basic meaning is used primarily of certain apes (as the chimpanzee and gorilla) and certain prehuman primate fossils that approach modern man in structure.

  • the anthropoid apes of the Miocene

In extended use the reference to manlike apes rather than man predominates; thus, an anthropoid pelvis is a human pelvis that in shape and proportions resembles that of an anthropoid ape.

  • the revolutionary thug who has the fine art of bursting Razumov's eardrums . . . is an anthropoid forerunner of thousands who have gone one better than that in the police states

Anthropomorphic and the less common anthropomorphous are used interchangeably when implying a physical resemblance to man.

  • the anthropomorphic deities of primitive peoples
  • an anthropomorphous carving

And both may replace anthropoid in its basic meaning especially when it is desired to avoid taxonomic implications.

  • anthropomorphous apes
  • Darwin himself carefully described men and apes as having evolved separately from some common "ancient . . . anthropomorphic subgroup"
    High School Biology

Anthropomorphic is the preferable term to modify a noun denoting something immaterial or to attribute human personality or quality as distinct from human physique.

  • expectancy is too anthropomorphic a concept . . . its use leads the reader to attribute to animals what in fact only occurs at the level of human beings equipped with language
    Charles Morris
  • the categories of cause, force, law, are anthropomorphic in origin and were thus originally metaphors