Sunday, April 27, 2014

Suburban Pests & Biblical Plagues: An Army of Caterpillars

An Army of Caterpillars (work of Creative Commons Attribution-
Share Alike 3.0 Unported licensor Gladson Machado
The Hebrew prophet Joel, three or four centuries before the common era, attributes these words to God, and reckons the cankerworm and the palmerworm, caterpillars all, a veritable army of the Lord:

And I will restore to you 
the years that the locust hath eaten,
the cankerworm, the caterpillar, and the palmerworm,
my great army which I sent among you. 

Joel 2:25 (KJV). The Hebrew for "caterpillar" in the original text, chasil (חָסִיל), from a root meaning to devour or consume, is obscure and might variously refer to the locust, grasshopper or caterpillar.  Regards, Joel sees these "creeping things" as a manifestation of God's judgment and a call to repentance. When the same fate befalls the Puritans in the Old Bay Colony, their own preachers too allege insufficient piety and argue for repentance:

Also the Lord was pleased to awaken us
(to our sinful neglect of the Sabbath)
with an army of caterpillars that,
had He not suddenly rebuked them,
they had surely destroyed the husbandman's hope.

Edward Johnson's The Wonder-working Providence of Sion's Savior in New England (1654). There is nothing like seeing the Day of Judgment right around the corner to suffuse every moment, and every caterpillar, with meaning.

Johnson, with the King James Version in hand, uses the term "caterpillar" in the modern sense; that is, the larval forms of the order Lepidoptera (better known as moths and butterflies, who in their later stages have their own terms of venery). The word "caterpillar" is first recorded in 1440, though no term of venery is recorded in the The Book of St. Albans (1486). In fact, only three collective terms for insects (for bees, lice and flies) are recorded in any of the classic English treatises on hunting and hawking up through Sports and Pastimes of the People of England (1801). 

Yet Lapham's Quarterly (2013) claims a St. Albans source for the term of venery "army of caterpillars." This is incorrect, as not only is "caterpillar" lacking, but there is nothing in any of the treatises that identifies a noun of assembly as an "army." One does, however, find in The Book of St. Albans "a host of sparrows," which according to James Hodgkin writing for the Philological Society (1908) denotes "an army or hostile force, and not without cause, from their destructive habits." Similar logic and the precedence of the biblical tradition surely apply to caterpillars.

There are nearly one-quater million on-line instances of "army of caterpillars" since Edward Johnson to settle the ubiquity of the term. Homeowners are instructed in The American City, Town & Country Edition (1919) how to prevent "an army of caterpillars" from invading their premises. Issac P. Trimble, M.D., New Jersey state entomologist writing in his diaries in 1865, records how an "army of caterpillars ... made such sad havoc with the foliage of our fruit trees." In 1885, geologist and cartographer Clarence Dutton uses the image for the unusual topography of the Colorado Plateau, describing "many short abrupt ranges, or ridges, looking upon the map like an army of caterpillars crawling northward." These caterpillars invite reverence much more than they do repentance.

In 2011, the Dictionary of Entomology labeled "army of caterpillars" the official term of venery in the unlikely case there continues to be doubt.

* oruga {es}
* eruga {ca}
* chenille {fr} 
carpéleuse {nrm}
The Old Norman French "catepelose" (cate, cat + pelose, hairy) is the source of the English word. 
* 毛虫 (kemushi) {jp} 
毛虫 (máochóng) {zh}
Amusingly, in Japanese and Chinese, caterpillar is , hairy + , insect.
κάμπια (kámpia) {el}
Given the Greek "kámpia" for caterpillar, the so far unattested adjectival form should naturally be "kampian."

Whence the Wildebeest: An Implausibility of Gnus

An implausibility of gnus (Connochaetes taurinus) in Tanzania
(work of Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 
licensor Schuyler Shepherd)
First principles dictate knowing what the creatures in the genus Connochaetes are properly called. They have stubbornly defied attempts at a common name. The Dutch first established a "refreshment station" at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, and were confronted with any number of animals not known to them. They call these bovids "wildebeest," wild beasts or wild cattle, as "bees" is Afrikaans for bullock or bovine. The English pronunciation of "wildebeest" is hesitant, occasionally following the Dutch with an initial [v] sound, though more often uttering the first letter as [w]. 

Swedish doctor Anders Sparrman, first writing in 1779 in his native tongue for the Royal Swedish Science Academy, and later in 1783 in English, contends that "t'Gnu is the Hottentot [Khoekhoe] name for a singular animal, which respect to its form, is between the horse and the ox." Sparrman's claims are repeated numerous times verbatim over the centuries, at least up until 1947 in the South African Journal of Science. English-language dictionaries (and Wikipedia) are in accord. There explanations are incorrect or at least incomplete, insofar as they do not explain the common pronunication [nu:] nor the hypercorrect and pseudo-British variant [nyu:]. Confusingly, the standard British pronunciation of "gnu" is (also) [nu:], the same way North Americans generally pronounce "new," though the standard British pronunciation of "new" is of course [nyu:]. It should come as no surprise that there is no consensus as to whether the wildebeest is kosher.

It is no easy feat to recreate what "t'Gnu" might have sounded like to Sparrman, but some observations are in order. Khoekhoe is one of the so-called "click" languages, the sounds of which have been made known to audiences by Xhosa singer Miriam Makeba. Diacritic and punctuation marks, such as the apostrophe, have been used to denote these "clicks," though their use in Khoekhoe has been standardized only in recent years, and only with regard to a dialect spoken largely in Namibia. The "g" in "gnu" is pronounced in Dutch, by contrast with the general practice in English, but not in the same as the English consonant (that is, [g] as in "girl"). The Dutch and their Afrikaner descendants pronounce the "g" closer to the "ch" in the Scottish "loch" (rendering the word as [xnu:]). Somehow in the process, English would have had to have jettisoned the t + click + g sequence in "t'Gnu" to arrive at our current pronunciation, surely a lot of sounds to lose, which by turns survived in some fashion in Dutch (and Afrikaans). Simultaneously English would have had to have rejected the Afrikaans and Dutch pronunciations as inauthentic. 

All of this would suggest the current English pronunciations are in a sense "wrong." Some have in fact suggested, both in jest and seriously, that gnu should be pronounced [gnu:], including National Geographic and the Oxford Dictionaries. The assumption appears to be that the call of the wildebeest (said to be something close to "guh-nu") must be the source for the names of the animal in the indigenous languages of southern Africa. Yet there is no published evidence of a [g] sound for the gnu in any Khosian language, and indeed this would contradict the experience in Afrikaans where no [g] sound is heard regardless of how the beast sounds.

There is hope for working this out: The Khoekhoe people may not be the source of the word in English. Though there are two species of gnus, and their range overlaps, the black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu lives the further south and east from the Cape of Good Hope. The blue wildebeest or brindled gnu (consisting of five subspecies: the eastern white-bearded, Cookson's, Nyassaland, western white-bearded and common wildebeest) range further west and north toward the Afrikaner stronghold at Capetown. In the language of the San people (formerly known as Bushmen) a "nu" is in fact a black wildebeest as recorded in a 1956 Bushman-English dictionary. Though the generic form "gnu" is also attested in the language, where "g" appears to represent a click sound (and not [g]), there is no form equivalent to "t'Gnu" nor anything else that might be easily blamed for the Dutch pronunciation [xnu:]. Douglas Harper's Online Etymology Dictionary (2010) uniquely gets right a "Southern Bushman" origin for gnu based on the form "!nu:." This is the best evidence for why [nu:] is widespread for gnu in English, and why this should unapologetically be the case. What is old is patently "nu" when it comes to the wildebeest in English, yet what is black is not blue.

Given its date of publication, the gnu does not make an appearance in the Book of St. Albans (1486). No doubt Dame Berners would admit the general form "herd" for a group of wildebeest under the rubric "all manner of deer" (which at the time just meant animal in the broadest sense). An Internet search will uncover tens of thousands of hits for "herds" of animals in the genus Connochaetes, so called for the gnu's beard (kónnos in Greek) and flowing hair or mane (khaítē). Thus their adjectival form should by rights be "connochaetine." An "implausibility of gnus" or "wildebeest," though less common, will still result in tens of thousands of results. 

This is quite an achievement as James Lipton (yes, that James Lipton) created "implausibility of gnus" out of whole cloth in 1968 for his book An Exultation of Larks without explanationRegardless there have been no fewer than 63 published works with the phrase to date. Whoop Studios produces a limited edition print entitled I — an Implausibility of Gnus. Jay Sacher opined in A Compendium of Collective Nouns (2013) that perhaps Lipton was contemplating the wildebeest "galloping en masse at speeds up to forty miles an hour, a vision of the prehistoric world come to life." It is also worth noting that the creature is called the "clown of the savannah" for its mating rituals. Connochaetine implausibilities moving at high speed are capable of injuring their main predator, the lion. Both sexes boast long, dangerous horns, so that the female gnu mimics the mating competitions of the male. 

The implausible abounds. All guests to Inside the Actors Studio are commended to ask James Lipton whence he came up with this unlikely but clever term of venery.

* nyu {ca} 
The plural is nyus.
* ñu {es} 
The Spanish plural is uncertain (though so is English: gnus, gnu), as both the forms ñúes or ñus are found.
* gnou {fr} 
The pronunciation is unclear. Both [gnu] and [nyu] are conceivable. The initial pronunciation [ny] in Spanish and Catalan, and to some extent French, is puzzling, as it finds no basis in any of the Khosian languages nor in Dutch. It is possible that this is in imitation of the psuedo-British pronunciation [nyu:] sometimes heard in English. More likely, as the letter combination "gn" in Italian is pronounced [ny], these sister Romance languages followed suit.
*ヌー (nū) {jp}
누 (nu) {ko}
Note that neither Japanese nor Korean makes this mistake.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Porcine Precision: A Sounder of Swine

A middle sounder of wild boar (Sus scrofa) 
(work of Creative Commons Attribution-Share 
Alike 3.0 Unported licensor Mehdy Zehtab
Norman French served as the source of hunting and allied terms in 14th century England. During the era, young gentlemen learned the "Le Art de Venerie" with its fanciful array of hunting terms consciously developed as an expression of courtly fashion. The Normans indeed provided English with the phrase "vn soundre de porks" to designate a group of swine, in addition to many other terms of venery. Though "sounder" dates from no later than 1410, it yet persists in English. Modern French, however, now prefers "une réunion de porcs." It is important to note that different terms of venery (namely, drift or drove) apply to domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus or Sus domesticus). 

Dame Juliana Berners in her Book of St. Albans (1486) defined different-sized sounders of the species Sus scrofa, variously known as swine, boar or wild boar. She specified herds of 12, 16, 20 or more animals as set forth below (the spelling is modernized for ease of reading):

"What is a sounder of swine great or small?
Twelve make a sounder of the wild swine
Sixteen a middle sounder what place they be in
A great sounder of swine twenty ye shall call
Forget not this lesson [whatever] may fall
Think what I say: my son night and day."

Though the distinction among the different sorts of sounders is not much observed these days, the better works of reference still define a sounder as 12 or more boar. One is left with the question, what is group of fewer than 12 to be called? John Hodgkin writing in his seminal work on the subject for the Transactions of the Philological Society (1908) notes that the number 12 was not universally accepted, and that other authorities put the minimum number necessary for a sounder at five or six. As noted above, modern sources, to the extent they make a numerical distinction at all, place the lower limit at 12. Adding to this confusion, Hodgkin quotes Randle Holme writing in his Academy of Armory and Blazon (1688) who believed that the lower limit of 12 applied equally to various synonyms for sounder, to include herdscore and singular

This is in error, at least with regard to herd. The Book of St. Albans provides the general term "herd" for "all manner of deer," a term which at the time simply meant "animal." Dame Berners places no other restrictions on the use of the term, nor do modern sources. Score, significantly, has no Internet presence. 

Hodgkin himself takes exception with Holme on "singular," contending that this term of venery applies only to "one boar, upwards of 4 years old." Hodgkin is surely correct to note the etymology is "unquestionably from singularis" persumably vitiating a term of assembly of any sort. His position also accords with Berners who opines as follows (the spelling is again modernized):

And when he is of four, then a boar shall he be
From the sounder of the swine [then] departeth he
A singular is he so: for alone he will go.

All the same, the editors at the Oxford University Press do not numerically limit the use of "singular" with regard to boar. Internet occurrences of the term reach nearly 3,000. The use of sounder online, however, is nearly four times as high. 

Our language is left even at this late date with sounder for groups of 12 or more, herd for smaller groups or those of unknown number, and singular, whatever the size of the group, to accentuate the solitary nature of this beast. No doubt the practice of counting members of the genus Sus is well-engrained from a young age. The practice should continue uninterrupted.

These should not be confused with what are called peccaries or javelinas in English, and among other names, jabalíes americanos in Spanish.
* sanglier {fr}

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Thin Green Line: A Copse of Park Rangers

A copse of (would-be) park rangers, including the author.
Though The Book of St. Albans (1486) contains the names for groups of people by office and occupation, it lacks a collective noun for constables, sheriffs or others officers of the law. Rather than a whimsical term befitting a "young gentleman," English seems to have filled this gap more democratically. The London Magazine reported for May 21, 1753 that a "posse of constables with their staves" had put to flight "colliers and other country people" assembled on account of the "dearness of corn" in the city of Bristol. Occupy corn.

Significantly, posse here appears not to mean "posse comitatus," a group of volunteers led by an officer of the law for a specific purpose, but more expansively a "company or force with legal authority" or a "band of persons or animals." That the word can mean either a group solely of law enforcement personnel or otherwise, is confirmed in later American sources. In 1878, a report to the Pennsylvania General Assembly on a railroad strike has a questioner asking "did you make ... any demand for a posse of police?" The interrogant responds "of the regular force?" The questioner clarifies, "of any force," indicating a "posse" covers a multitude of law enforcement arrangements.  

Internet inquiries for "posse of police" (or "posse of police officers") run nearly nearly one-half million, but are still outnumbered by several hundred thousand by "squad of police" and related iterations. They are used more or less interchangeably by newspaper writers and others. Considerably less numerous is "patrol of police officers" and its variations, though perhaps this is because this term of venery is (or should be) limited to those situations in which officers are behind the wheel or walking a beat.

There is no particular reason not to apply any of these terms to park rangers, forest rangers, game wardens and similar professions, at least when performing similar duties. All the same, it is worth noting that park rangers and their cohorts perform both law enforcement and non-law enforcement duties, such that a different term might be in order. Their resource management and conservation responsibilities similarly recommend a more specific word.  

The English term "ranger" (which first appears in 1341) is thought to correspond to the Medieval Latin term "regardatores" (which dates from 1217) as these early rangers "regarded" or watched over a royal forest. Their duties in some respects mirrored those of a "mounted forester" at the time. Significantly, the Book of St. Albans includes a term of venery for foresters: stalk. This, however, refers not to flora, but to the stalking of prey. It is evident that the job of a ranger has diverged significantly from this as well as from that of a modern forester.

A regard of park rangers, forest rangers or game wardens would tie these professions to their past as regardatores, but a copse of rangers and wardens would plant them squarely in both the natural and law enforcement fields. The double entendre and its homophony with "cops" work to its advantage as the preferred term of venery.

* guardaparque, guardabosques, agente forestal  {es}

* agent forestal, guardabosc, guarda forestal {ca} 
One cannot help but mention the Cos d'Agents Rurals serves as a rough analogue.
* garde forestier, garde nature, garde de parc (Canada) {fr} 
The English equivalent of "garde de parc" is "park warden" in Canada. The oddity is that in both the United States and the United Kingdom, the phrase "park ranger" is used, and as noted above, has been used since 1341. Given its Latin equivalent, the adjectival form of ranger should naturally be "regardatorial."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

International Bureaucrats Agree: A Waddle of Penguins

A waddle of king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) on 
West Falkland in the South Atlantic (work of Creative 
Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licensor Ben Tubby)

A raft of gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua), as here they 
are in the water rather than on land. (work of Creative 
Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licensor Gilad Rom)
waddle of penguins is a term of venery decided upon not by medieval writers or 19th century philologists, or even 21st century Internet enthusiasts or gallery owners, but rather by international bureaucrats meeting at the Fourth International Penguin Conference in 2000. The term, uniquely, is "official" when referring to a group of penguins on land. By contrast, penguins in the water are more properly referred to as a raft. The use of raft for any of the approximately 20 penguin species found in the subfamily Spheniscinae is extreme common, reaching almost one-half million online, though waddle achieves just short of 30,000 search results. The noun of assembly parade, which too imagines these aquatic birds walking officiously by, manages to edge out the officially sanctioned waddle by a couple thousand results.

The term rookery continues to refer to penguins on land with far more frequency than the official term waddle. The former term goes back to no later than the New English Dictionary (1702) at least with regard to rooksRookery now more expansively encompasses any "breeding ground ... especially of gregarious birds or mammals." Thus while waddle might refer to the March of the Penguins, a rookery might refer to penguins once sedentary as they nest. Much less frequent, though semantically similar, is the lyrical term crècheOther sturdy possibilities for spheniscine groups, while common, are likewise not limited to penguins or even to birds. A colony is "a group of plants or animals living or growing in one place," while a huddle is a "densely packed group or crowd, as of people or animals." Given the nesting behaviors of penguins, these last two terms often, though not always, serve similar purpose as rookery when used as collective nouns. 

Alon Shulman in his book Mess of Iguanas, Whoop of Gorillas: An Amazement of Animal Facts (2009) offers explanations for two more related terms used to describe groups of penguins: passel and parcel. Shulman correctly notes that there confusion reigns as to the origin of these terms, and which represents the more "authentic" term. Without specific citation, he throws his weight behind passel, recorded as a variant for parcel in 1834, contending that it is an "informal American term" for groups of things and people, that American sailors applied the term to penguins, and these passed "into the record" as "parcel of penguin." Shulman notes too that Shakespeare himself used the "parcel" collectively (a "youthful parcel of noble bachelors," All's Well That Ends Well, Act 2, Scene 3), and by turns draws an analogy between troops at attention and penguins standing in their finery on shore. However, there is some evidence that "passel" predates 1834, and was used regionally in Britain. In the absence of any printed references from the 19th century, British or American, it is difficult to make a dispositive determination. But all the same, Shulman has given us the perfect continuing valid use for passel and parcel, even in light of the official term waddle: Penguins standing, as if at attention.

The first published occurrence of waddle dates from 2004 in a book for children entitled, ironically, A Rookery of Penguins, in which authors Richard and Louise Spilsbury note that "some people call a group of penguins a waddle because of the way they walk." The term "waddle of penguins" was first used in a non-childrens book fours years later in the Visual Atlas of Korea: 2008 Map & Guide when describing exhibits at the Pacific Land aquarium.  Even scientific literature, though not referring to groups of penguins, refers to the "stiff-legged oscillating gait" of these birds as the "waddle of penguins." Surely the word captures something singular and naturally descriptive about them even in the midst of so very many existing alternatives.

* pingüí {ca}
* pingüino {es}
* manchot {fr}
Significantly, pingouin refers instead to either the razorbill (Alca torda) or the extinct great auk (Pinguinus impennis).

What is a group of penguins called? Data as of April 2, 2014 ("name" + "of penguins" per Google):
* raft, 489,000
* rookery, 339,000
* colony, 272,000
* parade, 32,500
* parcel, 32,300
* waddle, 28,400
* passel, 27,900
* crèche, 2,030

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Goddess of the Dawn: An Aurora of Polar Bears

A resting aurora of polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba (work
of Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Unported licensor Brocken Inaglory
An aurora of polar bears is a term of venery first collected by Adam Foster in April 2007 from the social networking site LiveJournal. Google references for aurora outpace those of runners-up "celebration" and "pack" by more than four to one. The traditional term for a group of European brown bears (like the polar bear, a member of genus Ursus) is sleuth or sloth, since applied to the various brown bear grizzly subspecies (e.g., Ursus arctos horribilis) in North America as well as the separate species of black bears (Ursus americanus). Not surprisingly, the traditional terms sleuth and sloth have been used for polar bears as well, though in small numbers per their Google references.

It is worth noting that George Turbervile in The Book of Hunting (1611, p. 218) supplies an explanation for the terms sleuth and sloth at odds with modern knowledge of bears. He writes "they are so heavy, that when they be hunted, they can make no speed but are always with sight of the dogs ... they go sometimes a gallop, and sometimes an ample: but when they wallow, they go at most ease." Sloth and sleuth are deformations of "slowth" and thus "slowness." Yet polar bears, for example, though known for their lumbering gait, hardly match this description, achieving speeds of 40 km/h (25 mph) when sprinting. Thus perhaps a less blatantly inaccurate term is in order.

Though the genesis of aurora may be lost to time, some facts are known. A polar bear named Aurora was born in the Cleveland Zoo in 1982. In 1992, polar bears and the Northern Lights (an aurora) made their first joint appearance in a Coca-Cola commercial. In 2000, the beanie baby polar bear Aurora was "born" and placed on sale. This was followed in short order by an actual polar bear named Aurora in the Toronto Zoo in December 2000, as well as a mechanical representation in 2013 of a polar bear with a message to "Save the Arctic" by the same name in London. "Aurora" of course refers both to the Northern Lights under which the polar bears live, and to the Roman Goddess of Dawn

The phrase "aurora of polar bears" appears to have made it onto lists of terms of venery first in 2006 (prior to its use on LiveJournal), and thereafter in 2008, 2012 and 2013. In December 2009, Linda Pine and Nicole Bruckman collected and curated new works based on terms of venery in an exhibition called An Aurora of Polar Bears: A Children's Primer at Gallery Meltdown in Los Angeles. At the gallery Andrew Brandou showed An Aurora of Polar Bears, a work of cel-vinyl paint on wood. A book of pencil drawings entitled An Aurora of Polar Bears I Have Dreamt of by Louise Jennison was published in 2011. In 2012, Chronicle Books published a Google e-book of illustrations called A Zeal of Zebras: An Alphabet of Collective Nouns that includes a drawing also entitled An Aurora of Polar BearsIts preamble speaks of polar bears in excess of one thousand in the Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba, as they await for the Hudson Bay to freeze. Significantly, the town of Churchill markets itself as the premier place to view the Northern Lights and polar bears, though Alaska makes similar claims. The term first appeared in a work of fiction in The Open and Shut Case by Harry Demaio in 2013 at page 48: "Belinda broke out crying as her mother pushed her back toward an aurora of polar bears." An unusual poetic flourish, to be sure, in the midst of such an unmotherly act.

A mother polar bear: the Goddess of the Dawn, waiting for the winter freeze so the hunt can begin, under the lights of the north that show the translucence of her fur. A sublime image, even if absent from the Book of St. Albans.

Google references of "name + polar bears" as of May 6, 2014 
* aurora, 33,700
* celebration, 22,600
* pack, 22,400
* sleuth, 279
* sloth, 73

ós blanc {ca}
oso polar u oso blanco {es}
* ours blanc {fr}
ᓇᓄᖅ {iu} 
nanuq {ik} 
The plural is nanuuk in Iñupiak. Both the Inuktitut and Iñupiaq forms will remind English speakers of Nanook of the North. This is not accidental.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

All the Nest's a Stage: A Deceit of Lapwings

Lapwings by Wenceslas Hollar (1607-1677)
A flock of lapwings is known as a deceit, a name possibly valid for plovers as well. This term of venery comes from The Book of St. Albans (1486), also known as The Book of Hawking, Hunting, and Blasing of Arms, albeit by a way of potential errors of reading and transcription. No. 93 in the St. Albans list of "Compaynys of Beestys and Fowlys" appears to read "a Desserte of Lapwynges." The New English Dictionary (1702) thus records desert as an "alleged name for a covey of Lapwings."    

John Hodgkin writes in the Transactions of the Philological Society (1908) that prior to 1486 a company of lapwings was "correctly" recorded in written sources as a "Dyssayte or disceite." Indeed Google references to "deceit" are in accord, outnumbering those of "desert" by more than 15 to one. There are, however, at least five references to a dessert of lapwings, following the original spelling. Surely these are incorrect as the birds have nothing to offer those with a sweet tooth.  

Hodgkin in support of "deceit" quotes Swainson on the habits of the bird, noting the lapwing "tries to draw pursuers from the nest by wheeling round them, crying and screaming to divert their attention." Similarly, Shakespeare in a Comedy of Errors speaks of a lapwing "far from his nest" as it "screams away whilst the female sits close on the nest til disturbed, when she runs off, feigning lameness." Chaucer calls the lapwing "ful of trecherie." 

Hodgkin claims dix-huit is a "French country" term for the bird in imitation of its cry. The name presumably regards the northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) as it is the only species native to Europe (the standard French term is vanneau huppé). Thus he contends the St. Albans term "deceit" should be understood as a double entendre.

The adjective form of lapwing appears to be the little-used "vanelline." Thus one could speak correctly of a "vanelline deceit."

vanneau {fr}
avefría o tero {es}