aye-aye

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English[edit]

An aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) in the wild

Etymology[edit]

From French aye-aye, from Malagasy aiay (also ahay, haihay or hay-hay in dialect), supposedly imitative of the animal's cry.[1] However, this is doubted by Simons and Myers (2001) who note that the animal does not emit such a sound. They suggest a derivation from Malagasy heh heh (I don't know), used by the Malagasy people to avoid naming the animal which they fear.[2]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

aye-aye (plural aye-ayes)

  1. The lemur Daubentonia madagascariensis, a solitary nocturnal quadruped found in Madagascar and remarkable for its long fingers, sharp nails, and rodent-like incisor teeth.

Alternative forms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ aye-aye, n.”, in OED Online, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1885.
  2. ^ Elwyn L[aVerne] Simons; David M. Myers (July 2001), “Folklore and Beliefs about the Aye Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)”, in Lemur News[1], volume 6, [Antananarivo, Madagascar]: Madagascar Section of the International Union for Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group, ISSN 1608-1439, OCLC 956116310, archived from the original on 13 March 2016, page 11, cited in Alexander R. Dunkel; Jelle S. Zijlstra; Colin P[eter] Groves (2011–2012), “Giant Rabbits, Marmosets, and British Comedies: Etymology of Lemur Names, Part I”, in Lemur News[2], volume 16, [Antananarivo, Madagascar]: Madagascar Section of the International Union for Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group, ISSN 1608-1439, OCLC 956116310, archived from the original on 6 November 2016, page 67.

Further reading[edit]