[Ads-l] calico (cat)

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 19 07:58:26 EST 2018


I am no expert, but my understanding is that a calico cat is a white cat
with splotches of color.

A tortoiseshell is splotched, but not white, so not a calico.

On Mon, Nov 19, 2018, 12:52 AM Dave Hause <dwhause at cablemo.net wrote:

> My understanding of calicos is that they are either three- or four-colored
> and female because coat color is carried on the X chromosome, but only two
> colors per chromosome.
> Dave Hause
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Barretts Mail
> Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2018 3:23 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: calico (cat)
>
> > On 18 Nov 2018, at 12:30, Chris Waigl <chris at LASCRIBE.NET> wrote:
> > Calico in other animals can have a looser meaning of
> > "blotched"/multi-colored or whatever. But a simple two-color tabby cat or
> > red-and-white or black-and-white is not a calico cat.
>
> According to the OLD, a two-color cat is a calico, especially if the two
> colors are black and white, and possibly a simple two-color cat is a
> calico,
> too. According to Wiktionary, that probably doesn’t work, and MW says that
> three colors is the typical meaning.
>
> According to MW, blotching or spotting is a requirement of caliconess, but
> according to the OLD and Wiktionary, it is not.
>
> According to Wiktionary, red is a requirement of caliconess, but the OLD
> does not have that requirement while MW says that red and black patches on
> a
> white coat is the archetype.
>
> That’s what I meant by "taking the dictionary definitions together.”
>
> As for Google Images, I find it difficult to come up with a unifying
> meaning. I suspect that citation 4 is correct (in that there are various
> sorts of caliconess) and that because of the variety, people understand
> the
> term “calico” in various ways, causing confusion. BB
>
> >
> > I don't think this is a proper thing to do. IMHO, it's a pretty usual
> > situation that an adjective (or noun) is used to apply to animals (or
> > furry
> > animals) in general in a less specific way than to a particular species,
> > or
> > a particular subgroup. (Eg. I thought I knew what color horses there are
> > when I grew up in Germany. Then I came to the US... holy crap!) In cats,
> > it's not really too contradictory. Def. 2 and 4 are basically the same -
> > ie, they would designate the same animals as calico. Do a Google image
> > search. I use it for a tortoiseshell cat (ie, tri-colored due to the
> > genetic situation described in 4) that has large areas of white. (While
> > "tortoiseshell" in the more narrow sense would be one that has only white
> > markings. But that's maybe because my cat back in the day was of this
> > coloring.) Tortoiseshell / calico cats are always female, except if they
> > are XXY males. In 4, my guess is the definition is written for the
> purpose
> > of classification of purebred cats by breed clubs: they usually have
> > subdivisions that the common cat owner or general public doesn't make.
> >
> > Calico in other animals can have a looser meaning of
> > "blotched"/multi-colored or whatever. But a simple two-color tabby cat or
> > red-and-white or black-and-white is not a calico cat.
> >
> > Chris
> >
> > On Sun, Nov 18, 2018 at 10:20 AM Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> I’ve never understood what a calico cat is, so I looked it up (as I’ve
> >> done before):
> >>
> >> 1. English OLD (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/calico <
> >> https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/calico>)
> >> North American
> >>        • (of an animal, typically a cat) multicoloured or piebald.
> >>
> >> https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/piebald <
> >> https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/piebald>
> >> (of a horse) having irregular patches of two colours, typically black
> and
> >> white.
> >>
> >> Since most cats are at least bicolored, this includes nearly all of
> them.
> >>
> >> 2. Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/calico <
> >> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/calico>)
> >> Having a pattern of red and contrasting areas, resembling the color of
> >> calico cloth.
> >> Synonym: tortoiseshell
> >>
> >> 3. Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/calico <
> >> https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/calico>)
> >> a blotched or spotted animal especially : one that is predominantly
> white
> >> with red and black patches
> >>
> >> “Blotched” seems like a particularly useful qualification.
> >>
> >> 4. According to “All About Calico Cats” (
> >> https://www.wwwallaboutcats.com/calico-cats <
> >> https://www.wwwallaboutcats.com/calico-cats>), calicoism is the result
> of
> >> partial deactivation of the X chromosome, and there are three “well
> >>  known”
> >> types: dilute, tortoiseshell and patched tabby.
> >>
> >> I remain uncertain of how this word is used. When taken together, the
> >> three dictionary meanings do not seem instructive, particularly when
> >> citation 4 is taken into account.
> >>
> >> I suspect that there is a colloquial term just meaning “multicolored
> with
> >> some blotches” and a prescribed scientific term as per the calico
> >> article.
> >>
> >> Also of relevance, an ADS email from Victor Steinbok (
> >> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2012-January.txt <
> >> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2012-January.txt>), in
> >> which he notes that calico is probably not common for horses.
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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