mooncalf
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /ˈmuːnkɑːf/
Noun

mooncalf (plural mooncalves)

  1. (now rare) An abnormal mass within the uterus; a false conception. [from 16th c.]
    • c. 1611, William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act II, Scene 2,
      Thou art very Trinculo indeed! How camest thou to be the siege of this moon-calf? Can he vent Trinculos?
  2. A poorly-conceived idea or plan. [from 17th c.]
  3. A dreamer, someone absent-minded or distracted; a fool, simpleton. [from 17th c.]
    • 1902, John Kendrick Bangs, Olympian Nights, New York: Harper & Bros., Chapter 10, p. 185,
      “ […] you’re a jobbernowl and a doodle, a maundering mooncalf and a blockheaded numps, a gaby and a loon; you’re a Hatter!” I shrieked the last epithet.
    • 1957, Ogden Nash, “Come On In, The Senility Is Fine” in You Can’t Get There From Here, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., p. 66,
      But I can think of no one but a mooncalf or a gaby
      Who would trust their own child to raise a baby.
    • 1978, Lawrence Durrell, Livia (novel), Faber & Faber, 1992 (Avignon Quintet), p. 463,
      He slipped it softly onto her unresisting finger and, like the unwise moncalf he was, kissed it.
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