A beast, the lusetan or ounce?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Jul 16 02:21:25 UTC 2006

Wilson and Jim,

Not too many of those (snow leopards) in New England, I think.  (It's
high altitude Asia only.)   On the other hand, Bampfylde-Moore Carew
claimed to have seen a white bear somewhere south of Philadelphia,
circa 1740-41.  Must have been an albino.

While the snow leopard may be an ounce, it seems beasts called ounces
are several:

1. A name originally given to the common lynx, afterwards extended to
other species, and still sometimes applied in America to the Canada
lynx and other species. From 16th c. applied to various other small
or moderate-sized feline beasts, vaguely identified.

I have no doubt that "ounce" does or did mean the Northeast lynx,
among other applications.


At 7/15/2006 08:29 PM, you wrote:
>According to "The Book of Knowledge - the children's encylopedia,"
>ca.1943, an "ounce" is a snow leopard. I.e., there's a photo of some
>kind of leopard-looking big cat on a snowbank and the caption reads:
>"An ounce or snow leopard."
>On 7/15/06, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>>Subject:      Re: A beast, the lusetan or ounce?
>>At 7/14/2006 04:57 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>> >Serves me right for not checking OED's "ounce, n.2". Thanks to
>> >Charles, Jim, and Joel for the simultaneous corrections. (Everyone's
>> >on top of their game as usual around here!)
>>Having grown up, read, and lived in the Northeast, I've actually
>>heard--or perhaps just read!--"ounce" meaning "bobcat"--er, "lynx".
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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