Saturday, June 03, 2006

Gargoyle, A Reprieve.

And just where did I get that idea about the relationship between gargoyle and gargle? Was someone pulling my leg?

Some years ago while I was working at the Barbicon Theatre in London, I decided to make a visit to Westminster Abbey on my dark day. And being that Westminster certainly has gargoyles, the word's derivation from gargle/gargul came up in conversation. I did find it a delightful tidbit which struck my sense of whimsy to no end and was well worth passing on.
Which I have done...for YEARS.

Did the Canon of Westminster really lead me astray? No, as it turns out.

The Rector and I have been vindicated.

Bruce Yolton, astute hawkwatcher and fine photographer, , sent in the Rector's and my reprieve.

Here is what Bruce had to say.

Your weren't wrong about gargoyle. It just has two roots.
a grotesque carved human or animal face or figure projecting from the
gutter of a building, typically acting as a spout to carry water
clear of a wall.
gargoyled adjective
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French gargouille ‘throat,’ also
‘gargoyle’ (because of the water passing through the throat and mouth
of the figure); related to Greek gargarizein ‘to gargle’ (imitating
the sounds made in the throat).

I feel ever so much better. D.B.

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