Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Falconry In English Idiom

English language idioms derived from falconry
These English language idioms are derived from falconry:
ExpressionMeaning in falconryDerived meaning
in a batebating: trying to fly off when tetheredin a panic
with bated breathbated: tethered, unable to fly freerestrained and focussed by expectation
fed upof a hawk, with its crop full and so not wanting to huntno longer interested in something
haggardof a hawk, caught from the wild when adultlooking exhausted and unwell, in poor condition; wild or untamed
under his/her thumbof the hawk's leash when secured to the fisttightly under control
wrapped round his/her little fingerof the hawk's leash when secured to the fisttightly under control

rouseTo shake one's feathersStir or awaken
pounceReferring to a hawk's claws, later derived to refer to birds springing or swooping to catch preyJump forward to seize or attack something
to turn tail[Fly awayTo turn and run away

I've been off sick for the last couple of days, and spending the time wisely have spit it three ways: watching films of Birds of Prey, reading websites about Birds of Prey, and sleeping.

One of the many great things about Falconry is that the written history of the sport is so diverse and there's so much of it. It's been years since I read anything written in the older forms of English so it's been interesting [read challenging] to get back into it. Of course the marvel of English is the way the language constantly evolves to suit the needs of the speaker, taking words from other cultures and languages, and idiom from popular culture. Today there is an financial advice website that advertises itself on TV with an aristocratic Meer Cat who ends every explanation of the company's services with the word "Simples". It's become a popular way to end 'explanations' and 'discussions' on web forums.

Back in the day, when folks flying Falcons was a common sight, these phrases entered the language and are still with us today. There is at least one example missing from the Wikipedia list and I'm guessing a few more? Let me know in the comments when you think of them.

My Addition:
To 'Hawk up'       
 Meaning in falconry                                                                   
The sound of a hawk expelling the indigestible parts of a meal
Derived meaning
Clearing phlegm from the throat

More soon
your pal