Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Meaning: A Scottish water demon, and the name of a breed of Australian working dog.

Usefulness: 3 (Unless I have any readers in the bush.)

Logofascination: 1 (The matriarch of the breed lent her name to it - presumably she liked water. The  demon is etymologically unrelated to kelp, the seaweeed.)

In the wild: An article on the dearth of kelpies in the (Australian) National Sheep Dog trials. If you're interested in how my brain works, I looked up kelpie because I've been reading If Houses Why Not Mouses?, in which Mr O'Brien discusses a Siamese cat named Wankee who had no influence whatsoever on breed names or any other words*. (N.B. If Houses Why Not Mouses? is so logofascinating that I can only read it in small bursts, because the part of my brain that likes words and language overloads after about a chapter. You can read a sample at the Wankee link above.)

Degrees: 2

Connections: kelpie - dog

Which is used in: G&P, often as an insult, once in a rather nasty story about Panurge having revenge on a married women who spurned him.  Rabelais liked using them in imagery:
Book the First, Prologue:  Or, did you ever see a dog with a marrowbone in his mouth,--the beast of all other, says Plato, lib. 2, de Republica, the most philosophical? 
Book the First, V: Keep running after a dog, and he will never bite you; drink always before the thirst, and it will never come upon you.

Book the First, XIII: in all which I found more pleasure than do the mangy dogs when you rub them. 
Book the First, XXXV: and ran away in a full flight, as if they had been routed, looking now and then behind them, like a dog that carrieth away a goose-wing in his mouth. 
"The beast of all other... the most philosophical."

*As you can probably tell, the way my brain works is not entirely logical. 

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