Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


\BES-chee-er-ee, BEES-\ , noun;
a collection of moralized fables, especially as written in the Middle Ages, about actual or mythical animals.
It was pieced together into no named pattern native to this country, not star flower or flying bird of churn dasher or poplar leaf, but was some entirely made-up bestiary or zodiac of half-visionary creatures.
-- Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain, 1997
An inexperienced heraldist resembles a medieval traveler who brings back from the East the faunal fantasies influenced by the domestic bestiary he possessed all along rather than by the results of direct zoological exploration.
-- Vladamir Nabokov, Speak, Memory, 1951
Bestiary is from the Latin bestiaries meaning "a fighter against beasts in the public entertainments." It entered English in the 1620s.
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