Dewlap

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Dr. Goodword
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Dewlap

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:59 pm

• dewlap •


Pronunciation: dyu-læp • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A fold of loose skin hanging from the neck of some bovines, reptiles, and birds, turkeys and roosters especially.

Notes: Chickens, turkeys and Brahma cattle have prominent dewlaps hanging from their necks (see picture). Some species of lizards sport dewlaps, too. At the same time dogs and horses have a useless rudimentary claw (or hoof) on the back of their legs, called a dewclaw. Why dew? See the Word History.
Image
In Play: In act II, scene 1 of "Midsummer's Night Dream", Puck confesses to how he teases a gossip: "And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob, And on the wither'd dewlap pour the ale." So the extension of the meaning of today's word to the skin that gathers on human throats with age has long been made and made by masters of the language. It is a potentially embarrassing term, but if we are careful, we can also apply it to ourselves, "I would drop a few pounds but weight loss leaves me with a dewlap that requires surgery I would prefer avoiding."

Word History: Etymologists seem willing to accept the notion that dewclaws are so named because, rather than touch the ground like real claws, they only claw the dew. They are, however, less willing to accept the notion that a dewlap is so named because it laps the dew. Danish doglæp and Norwegian doglæpp are cousins in related Germanic languages. English dew, Dutch dauw, German Tau, and Danish and Norwegian dog all seem to come from PIE dheu- "to flow", source also of Sanskrit dhavate "flows" and Greek theein "to run". It's possible that the name of the Russian river Dvina comes from the same PIE word.
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Philip Hudson
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Re: Dewlap

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:11 pm

Then there is dunlap as in "My belly dunlapped over my belt".
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Re: Dewlap

Postby damoge » Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:16 pm

There are two meanings of "lap" clearly shown here.
1. to lap up the water with the tongue
2. to lap over the belt (viz. Philip)
Dear Good Doctor, "dew" is from "flow", what is the etymology for "lap"?
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Re: Dewlap

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:54 pm

Here's what Etymonline has to say about lap in the sense it is used in dewlap. Harper can only take it back to Proto-Germanic.
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Re: Dewlap

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:20 pm

How one lapped water from the brook was key to Gideon's selection of his army. Those who bent down and put their face to the water to drink were disqualified. Those who cupped the water in their hands and then lapped out of their hands were chosen.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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Re: Dewlap

Postby damoge » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:13 pm

Sorry to be obtuse, so I shall guess.
Lap in dewlap is lap over as the belly over the belt, or the shirt out of the pants.
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Re: Dewlap

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:28 pm

Shirt tucked in or hanging free, wearing a tie or even a suitcoat, if the belly laps over the belt it's dunlapped. :D
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.


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