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Wordsmith.org Forums General Topics Miscellany dream word
OP Several words came to me in a dream last night. I couldn't define them during the dream. Upon waking,
I remembered only one and was able to figure out its meaning. The word was "cloven". I decided it was the past participle of the word "cleave". I suspect that the only time it is used anymore is in the Christmas carol,
"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear". ("Still through the cloven skies they come, with peaceful wings unfurled...")
The verb "cleave" is an interesting one, having two meanings which are almost opposites. I would be
interested if anyone knows of other similar words.
Thanks for your posting. If you enter "cleave" in "search" above (the one in the line below AWAD talk that starts with Main Index) you will find discussion of the word cleave in a previous thread in Q&A about words.
I decided to explore the internet on the subject of cloven, in particular "cloven hoof". It's so interesting when you pick a word or phrase and throw it at a few search engines.
The definition of cloven hoof in Encarta is
cloven hoof or cloven foot noun
1. split hoof of animal: the divided hoof of such animals as cattle, sheep, and pigs. Order Artiodactyla
2. mark of Devil: an indication of the presence of the Devil, traditionally represented in Christianity with a cloven hoof
I also found a scientific discussion on artiodactyls in Encarta
"Artiodactyl," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
http://encarta.msn.com 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
I found several discussions of how the "cloven hoof" is an important factor in Kosher foods:
“These are the animals which you are permitted to eat anything which has a completely split hoof and chews the cud, this you may eat (Leviticus 11:2-3).
"Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof" (Deut. 14:7).
”There are two things that tell if an animal is kosher. Firstly its hooves are completely parted at the bottom to form two horny pads, and secondly if it chews the cud. Cows, sheep, goats and deer are the common animals that have both these features and so these are kosher. Pigs, whilst they do have split hooves do not chew the cud are so are not kosher, likewise camels while they chew the cud only have partially split hooves and so are also not kosher”
I also found several references to the cloven hoof from Marx and Lenin
I assume that cloven hoof refers to the "evil forces of capitalism" but it's hard to tell from the references. Any experts out there?
Another area, as in the "below the salt" discussion is music. There appears to have been a band called "Cloven Hoof" and there are lots of references to their music.
The last and by far the biggest area, I'll leave out the links, is satanism. It appears that "The Cloven Hoof" is a satanic newsletter and there are many references, some of which I'd rather delete from the "history" files of my computer!
I don't expect you'll want to look at all the links. I just thought it was an interesting example of how a few moments of curiosity about a word can lead you into lots of other areas (not all pleasant). If anyone had ever wanted to stop people acquiring knowledge (by burning books, for example) I think the battle is lost - it's all out there.
A somewhat daring thought occured to me on reading your notes on "cloven hoof": Could all those "numinous" connotations of this expression have arisen as easily if it had a different sound-pattern (e.g "cleaved heef")? I speculate that this eerie o - oo sound at least predestined the original expression for its later career. What do you think of that?
Yes, jmh, there is nothing so serendipitous as searching for a word and finding a whole new world!
Brewer has: The Scots call a cloven hoof a 'cloot', so that Auld Cootie is old Clovenfoot
and follows with this citation (pardon my accent):
And maybe Tam, for a' my cants,
My wicked rhymes an' drunken rants
I'll gie auld Cloven Clootie's haunts
An unco slip yet,
An' snugly sit amang the saunts
At Davie's hip yet!
Burns: Reply to a Trimming Epistle.
-- and the unusual scanning of the latter half reminded me immediately of Ogden Nash's verse about a husband:
He tells you when you've got on too much lipstick,
And helps you with your girdle when your hips stick.
Little devil, isn't he!
Hope to see more from you! Amazing, what can happen in
dreams, isn't it? A couple of times, I've dreamed entire
symphonies. (And wished mightily when I awoke that I could notate fast enough to get it all down before it eluded my memory--not a hope!)
wsieber--I had to look up numinous--thanks! The only thing
that comes to mind re: the o-oo sound is that it is like the howl of a wolf, and there are MANY numinous connotations around them, for sure.
BUT--in the same vein (no, I am not a vampire)--I just
thought of another word whose sound pattern is a lot like its meaning, so perhaps your incipient theory is correct: EERIE.
That is, if one sees something eerie, a common reponse
I'm sure you are right - the success of a word depends an how it sounds and to what extent it fits the bill.
Poetry relies on painting pictures with words and the most useful words add colour and vibrancy to good writing.
Clootie - a whole new search !!!
Address To The Deil (I love the way a quick google search can make one sound so intelligent!)
She read in perfect Scots ....
"O Thou! whatever title suit thee-
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie-
Wha in yon cavern grim an sootie,
Clos'd under hatches,
Spairges about the brunstane cootie,
To scaud poor wretches!"
And looking at the "Bill O Fare" for a Burns Supper:
"Cock-a-leekie" Soup,(an old Scottish recipe)
The main course of "Haggis wi bashit neeps an' champit tatties" ( Haggis, mashed turnip/swede and mashed potatoes)
Sweet course of "Clootie Dumplin" (Dumpling pudding prepared in a linen cloth or "cloot") or Scottish trifle; Final course of "Bannocks an Cheese" (Traditional Scottish Oatcakes and cheese board) finishing off with Coffee or Tea.
Which takes us all the way back to bread rolls and brack. So does a "clootie dumpling" have anything to do with the devil?
>>"Clootie Dumplin" (Dumpling pudding prepared in a linen cloth or "cloot") <<
I'm wondering if the word "cloot" might be derived from "clout", which meant a cloth covering (breech-clout)
1 a : a waste piece of cloth b plural : clothes usually in poor or ragged condition
2 : something resembling a rag
Thinking about how the Scots dialect changes -au (klaut) into -oo (cloot)
Or am I 180° off-course?
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