Animal names . . .

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri Apr 28 21:27:25 UTC 2006

Good call, Larry!

Porky Pig probably shouldn't "count."  But Spenser named a
pig Gryll, from Gk. "grullos" ('pig'; Faerie Queene 2.12.86-
87).  The character Gryll is a man whom an enchantress has
changed into a hog--and he is having so much fun that he
declines to be changed back into human form.  The OED (sb.2)
gives a handful of instances of "grill" from the 16th and
17th centuries (presumably those allude to or derive from
the Spenser's poem), identifying the word as "A quasi-proper
name for a person of low tastes or lazy habits" and marking
it "Obs. rare."

DARE suggest a connection between that "grill" and the South
Midland "mountain grill," a term designating "A rustic,
hillbilly"--although "mountain grill" is obviously more
specific than "rustic," and it is considerably more
derogatory than either of those words (it's an Appalachian
appelation!).  However, there's no evidence that "grill" (in
this sense) was being used between the early 17th century
and the 20th.


>Well, there's Felix the Cat, which I assume is at least
influenced by
>fe:lis (since cats aren't notorious for being happy),
although I
>suppose that was more of a genus than a species name before
it became
>adapted into "felis catus"/"felis domesticus" for kitty-

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