mooncalf

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From moon +‎ calf, after a superstition that the moon caused abnormal fetal developement.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

mooncalf (plural mooncalves)

  1. (now rare) An abnormal mass within the uterus; a false conception. [from 16th c.]
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 2
      Thou art very Trinculo indeed! How cam'st thou / to be the siege of this moon-calf? Can he vent Trinculos?
  2. A poorly-conceived idea or plan. [from 17th c.]
  3. A dreamer, someone absent-minded or distracted; a fool, simpleton. [from 17th c.]
    • 1902, John Kendrick Bangs, Olympian Nights, ch. 10:
      "[Y]ou're a jobbernowl and a doodle, a maundering mooncalf and a blockheaded numps, a gaby and a loon; you're a Hatter!" I shrieked the last epithet.
    • c. 1950, Ogden Nash, "Come On In, The Senility Is Fine":
      But I can think of no one but a mooncalf or a gaby
      Who would trust their own child to raise a baby.
    • 1978, Lawrence Durrell, Livia, Faber & Faber 1992 (Avignon Quintet), p. 463:
      He slipped it softly onto her unresisting finger and, like the unwise moncalf he was, kissed it.

Related terms[edit]