Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Meaning: A pelican, or according to Cotgrave:
"A Swan-like bird that brayes like an Asse; (or as Gouttreuse.)" ... "A certain white, long-beaked, and tonglesse bird, that hath a great red pouch hanging from her neather beake to her breast; otherwise (in bignesse, and shape) somewhat resembling a Swanne."
Usefulness: 2 (In the Bible they're popular for feeding their own blood to their children, which of course any good manager will do for their team.  If you know the etymology or the mythology, or even just Rabelais' allusions, you can of course use it to refer to anyone loud or lusty.)

Logofascination: 1 (Besides this word translating to donkey-rattle*, etymologically speaking, pelicans have also influenced albatross and Alcatraz. If you're in any doubt that they're awesome and / or carnivorous, see this guy's round up. NB: slightly gory, involves basketball and eating small animals. Rabelais attempts to leapfrog off the donkey's reputation to render the pelican promiscuous, but gluttony seems to be most associated.)

In the wild: There are less and less of the birds themselves, sadly, but this term is maintained in some species names.

Degrees: 1

Connections: n/a

Which is used in: G&P, Book the Third, XXVI: How Panurge consulteth with Friar John of the Funnels. Panurge has been consulting on whether to marry or no, and is so moved by the arguments in favour that he promises:
that from henceforth no malefactor shall by justice be executed within my jurisdiction of Salmigondinois, who shall not, for a day or two at least before, be permitted to culbut and foraminate onocrotalwise, that there remain not in all his vessels to write a Greek Y.
As above, Rabelais is reading the donkey's (alleged) lustiness into the pelican by dint - as far as we can tell - of etymology.  Frame suggests that upsilon is mentioned due its resemblance to certain parts of men, but it may also be appearing due to its simiplicity and the requirements of the imagery.

*ono-cratal; the latter probably onomatopoeic.

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