One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Resembling or of the nature of a seal; (specifically) belonging to the superfamily Phocoidea, originally comprising both the true seals (phocids) and eared seals (otariids) but now restricted to the former.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Century Dictionary. From scientific Latin Phoca, genus name + -oid, after scientific Latin Phocoidea, superfamily name.
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