Mooncalves


Brewers dictionary of phrase and fable gives the following definition:
Moon-calf is an inanimate, shapeless mass (Pliny; Natural History, x. 64). This abortion was supposed to be produced by the influence of the moon. The primary meaning of calf is not the young of a cow, but the issue arising from throwing out, as a push, a protuberance; hence the calves of the legs.
A false conception, called mola, i.e. moon-calf . . . a lump of flesh without shape or life.- Holland: Pliny, vii. 16.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives an alternative meaning: a deformed baby or congenital idiot

In The Tempest, Caliban is called a mooncalf. If anyone knows more about this, please leave a message in the guestbook






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