barometz

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Possibly a corruption of Russian баране́ц (baranéc), from бара́н (barán, ram), used to describe a species of club moss.

Noun[edit]

barometz (plural barometzes)

  1. A purported zoophyte, half-animal and half-plant, said to grow in the form of a sheep.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, III.28:
      Much wonder is made of the borametz, that strange plant-animal or vegetable lamb of Tartary, which wolves delight to feed on, which hath the shape of a lamb, affordeth a bloody juice upon breaking, and liveth while the plants be consumed about it.
    • 1791, Erasmus Darwin, The Botanic Garden, Part 1:
      Cradled in ſnow and fann'd by gentle air / Shines, gentle Barometz! thy golden hair; / Rooted in earth each cloven hood deſcends, / And round and round her flexile neck ſhe bends […].
    • 1999, Mike Mitchell, translating HJC von Grimmelshausen, Simplicissimus, V.22, Dedalus 2016, p. 426:
      I was captured along with some others by a band of Tartars and carried off so deep into their territory that I not only saw borametz, the legendary sheep-shaped melon, growing, I ate it.
  2. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) The woolly fern, Cibotium barometz, whose inverted roots are thought to be the basis for the legend.

Synonyms[edit]