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Borrowed from Classical Nahuatl conēepatl.


conepatl (plural not attested)

  1. (obsolete) A kind of skunk.
    • [1651, Francisco Hernández, Rerum medicarum Novae Hispaniae thesaurus, seu plantarum animalium mineralium Mexicanorum historia, Romae: Ex typographeio Vitalis Mascardi, page 332:
      Sunt & alia duo huius Vulpeculæ genera, eadem penè forma, & natura. quorum alterum Yzquiepatl vocatum, faſcijs multis candentibus diſtinguitur; alterum verò, Conepatl, ſeu Vulpecula puerilis, vnica tantum vtrinq; ducta, perq; caudam ipſam eodem modo delata.
      There are also two other types of these skunks, with nearly the same form and nature; of which the first, called yzquiepatl, is distinguished by its many white stripes; the second, conepatl, or childish skunk, having only one on each side, continued in this way through to its very tail.]
    • 1763, R. Brookes, A New and Accurate System of Natural History, volume 1, London: Printed for J. Newbery, at the Bible and Sun, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, page 245:
      Travellers affirm, that there are two other kinds of this animal, one of which has the ſame name as the former [sc. Uzquiepatl[sic]], and is diſtinguiſhed by many white ſtripes; but the other, called CONEPATL, has only one ſtripe on each ſide, which runs to the tail.
    • 1792, Robert Kerr, The Animal Kingdom or Zoological System, of the Celebrate Sir Charles Linnæus. Class I. Mammalia: Containing a Complete Systematic Description, Arrangement, and Nomenclature, of All the Known Species and Varieties of the Mammalia, or Animals Which Give Suck to Their Young; Being a Translation of that Part of the Systema Naturæ, as Lately Published, with Great Improvements, by Professor Gmelin of Goettingen, Together with Numerous Additions from More Recent Zoological Writers, and Illustrated with Copperlates, Printed for A. Strahan, and T. Cadell, London; and W. Creech, Edinburgh, page 163:
      13. Conepatl.—11. Viverra Conepatl. 12. / Of a blackiſh colour, having two white lines running along the black, which are continued to the end of the tail. / Vulpecula puerilis, or Conepatl. Hernand. Mex. 232. / Inhabits New Spain.—This animal is probably a variety of the Skunk.
    • 1930 December, Azilee Johnston, “Color in the animal kingdom”, in Bios, volume 1, number 4, page 35:
      Many animals, such as the skunk, conepatl, the teledu of Java, the wolverine and the great ant-eater are colored in sky-matching patterns, that is the reverse obliterative coloring of white on top of black ventrally.

Usage notes[edit]

This word is only known from the work of Francisco Hernández.