Word of the day – ectomorph

The word ectomorph is used to describe one of the characters in a novel I read last week. It’s not a word I’ve come across before so it caught my attention.

According to The Free Dictionary, an ectomorph is “an individual having a lean, slightly muscular body build in which tissues derived from the embryonic ectoderm predominate.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the word ectomorph as “a human physical type (somatotype) tending toward linearity, as determined by the physique classification system developed by the American psychologist W.H. Sheldon.”

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines an ectomorph as “a person with a lean and delicate build of body”, and related words include endomorph, “a person with a soft round build of body and a high proportion of fat tissue”, and mesomorph, “a person with a compact and muscular body”.

According to these definitions, I think I am an ectomorph. What about you?

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This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

8 Responses to Word of the day – ectomorph

  1. Peter J. Franke says:

    Since I heard that my stomach is up-side down and mainly located in the thorax my view concerning the body changed from ecto- into endomorphish….

  2. Sennin says:

    It’s a term used very often in books about body-building and fitness. The other two body types are “mesomorph” and “endomporph”.

  3. Tommy says:

    I have also heard and seen these “body types” in fitness magazines, etc. My understanding is it describes generally your body’s tendency, rather than its current state. I think the mesomorph type is on the border between fat and muscle. Ectomorphs can probably get by with little exercise and still look slender, but it doesn’t mean they are healthy or in good shape.

  4. formiko says:

    //Ectomorphs can probably get by with little exercise and still look slender, but it doesn’t mean they are healthy or in good shape.//

    That would be me. Not that I’m an unhealthy oaf, but I don’t exercise,but I eat well (thanks to my wife) I’m 39 and I’m considered slender.

  5. Dreaminjosh says:

    I’m not sure where I fall. I coach and compete gymnastics and tumbling… so, I’m muscular and lean kind if like a runner- but not as thin as one. It’s somewhere in the middle I guess.

    I’m not sure I like those terms. When I hear the suffix “morph”, it brings “change” to mind.

  6. Jayan says:

    I’m definitely an ectomorph. and I’m not sure I like being one

    //Ectomorphs can probably get by with little exercise and still look slender, but it doesn’t mean they are healthy or in good shape.//

    Yeah that also describes me. I eat like a horse and still feel (and look, to a lesser extent) like skin and bones.

  7. Danny Turner (dtp883) says:

    Most kids in America learn these terms in PE. I don’t know which I am though, I have neither a high concentration of fat tissue nor am I muscular or slender.

  8. Polly says:

    Is anyone familiar with the eugenics connection to these terms? Mesomorphs were considered the criminal type. ectomorphs were brains and endomorphs were sociable. Body-type was once thought to contain clues to personality and character.