The adjective here means elephantine or mammoth, from mastodon, which is a strange formation, for masto- is from the Greek for breast (of any size). In fact, the extinct animal was named after nipple-like protuberances on its molars. Doubtless this will inspire a publisher to issue a breast-shaped coffee-table book.
Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.
SEAMLESSLY LIMPID is the new, elegant memoir of summertime meetings with Graham Greene on Capri by Shirley Hazzard, the novelist, widow of the francophile Francis Steegmuller and a mainstay of the marvellous New York Society Library. A word leaps out when she discusses Greene's small volume on British dramatists, "a fine illustrated edition of rational dimensions (we had no premontiion, then, of mastodontic coffee-table tomes)".