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January 27, 2020

Word of the Day: Grimalkin

1 CQ

Word of the Day : April 18, 2017

grimalkin \grih-MAWL-kin\ noun


: a domestic cat; especially : an old female cat


The family grimalkin, dreaming, perhaps, of mousing days long past, twitched her tail as she dozed contentedly on the windowsill.

"The security-evading feline was caught on camera … on a confectionary shelf, back in November. Now, the grumpy grimalkin has been pictured glaring down at shoppers from above a fridge full of pizzas, garlic bread and ready meals." — Hatty Collier, News Shopper, 7 Jan. 2016

Did You Know?

In the opening scene of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, one of the three witches planning to meet with Macbeth suddenly announces, "I come, Graymalkin." The witch is responding to the summons of her familiar, or guardian spirit, which is embodied in the form of a cat. Shakespeare's graymalkin literally means "gray cat." The gray is of course the color; the malkin was a nickname for Matilda or Maud that came to be used in dialect as a general name for a cat—and sometimes a hare—and for an untidy woman as well. By the 1630s, graymalkin had been altered to the modern spelling grimalkin.

Aired April 18, 2017

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