Anything Obscure & Eclectic
Bell-wether

Bell-wether

BEING VERY MUCH ON THE AOE’S MIND, THOUGH PERHAPS NO ONE ELSE’S

n. — the leading sheep of a flock, the one wearing the bell
— figuratively, often contemptuously, a leader
— figuratively, often opprobriously, a mouthy or clamorous person

“[Oh,] to be detected with a jealous rotten bell-wether…”
—William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, III.v.111 [Falstaff]

fm. the English bell + Germanic, Old English, Frisian, Frankish, Old Norse, Icelandic, or Gothic forms related to the Latin vitulus, meaning calf, to create wether, a male sheep, i.e. a ram [and often, specifically, a castrated ram]

first published. circa 1430

inspiration. my daughter, who has a particular favorite in “the bunny movie,” i.e. a freshly minted Academy Award-winner, Zootopia. It features a lamb character, Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellwether, voiced by Jenny Slate. Seriously, we’ve watched it, like, three dozen times … in the past seven days.

Bell-wether

This entry was published on 3 March 2017 at 9:00 am. It’s filed under B and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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