A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Words with Webster: Manticore, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has a fantastic word to share. After that, it’s on to Friendly Fill-Ins!

Words with Webster

Words with Webster

Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “manticore.” At first this word doesn’t sound very catty, but a manticore is a
legendary animal having the head of a man often with horns, the body of a lion, and the tail of a dragon or scorpion. (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, online)
The Oxford English Dictionary describes it a little differently:
A fabulous monster having the body of a lion (occasionally a tiger), the head of a man, porcupine's quills, and the tail or sting of a scorpion.
I first learned about this word when Mommy was researching for our heraldry post a few weeks ago. In heraldry, a manticore is
a monster represented with the body of a beast of prey, the head of a man, sometimes with spiral or curved horns, and sometimes the feet of a dragon. (Oxford English Dictionary)
A manticore as depicted in the Rochester Bestiary,
late 1200s.
British Library, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Well, whether a manticore does or does not have a dragon’s tail and/or porcupine’s quills, it certainly does have the body of a big cat, and that’s what’s important (unless you happen to encounter one in the wild and want to put a name to it, but I really wouldn’t recommend taking the time to do that).

This word has been used in English since at least the 1300s. I found this excellent quote from the 1500s:
The mantycors of ye montaynes Myght fede them on thy braynes. (J. Skelton, Phyllyp Sparowe, sig. A.viii ?1545 [first composed ca. 1529])
That quote also explains why you shouldn’t hang around a manticore trying to figure out exactly what it is.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “manticore” comes to English from the Latin manticora, which is from the Greek mantikhoras, which seems to be a corruption of martikhoras, which could be from an Iranian compound meaning “man-eater”: mar-tiya-khvara.

According to folk etymology, the word comes from a combination of “man” + “tiger.”

Purrsonally, I think the “official” etymology is more convincing; plus, it gives you yet another hint that if you happen upon an actual thing that might be a manticore, you should quietly vacate the area!

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins
And now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and The Four-Legged Furballs. This week old SoLT did the first two and Real Cat Paisley did the second two.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. My favorite Disney character is Mickey Mouse. But my favorite cartoon character is Bugs Bunny. By the way, I’m currently listening to a great podcast called Drawn: The Story of Animation. I recommend it for anyone who loves animation.

2. If I could stay any age for life, I would choose to be age 25 in body and 49 (current age) in mind. Sometimes I think if I could just get my 25-year-old body back, I’d be all set!

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. Bending everyone to my will is my not so secret talent.

4. Life is like a variety pack of canned food. You never know what you’re going to get.


  1. If it feeds on brains, it should avoid DC. Not enuf food!

  2. The part about the manticore having a scorpion tail is remembered in the idea that lions have a stinger in the tuft of hair at the end of their tails - at least that was still circulating when I was a kid.

    1. I'd never heard the one about there being a stinger on the end of a lion's tail. thanks!

  3. I learned a new word, I had never even heard this one before. And thank you to you both for these great fill-in answers. I like how you describe life Paisley. And I agree a 25 yr old body and our current mind, that would be good. Although, at 25, I was already getting plump. Have a nice weekend! XO

  4. Seriously, a manticore is one scary looking beastie! Yikes!

  5. I love that your word today is manticore! I am admittedly a fantasy nerd and adore learning about all sorts of legendary creatures. The manticore and the Questing Beast/Barking Beast (from Arthurian legend) have always been two that I find most intriguing.

    And thank you for joining in on the Friendly Fill-Ins, SoLT and Paisley! I think you're so right about mixing a young body with a wise, experienced mind. That would be an ideal situation in life. Paisley, you could not be more right about life being like a variety pack of canned food. Some of it is going to taste downright delicious, and other times all you'll be able to do is turn your nose up to it. Happy Friday!

  6. Very interesting learning about a Manticore, can't say I'd want to meet one though. Enjoyed your fill-in answers. Especially the last two answers.

  7. I have never heard of a Manticore before, and I hope I never come face to face with one!

  8. I love your "not so secret" talent Paisley. Our Humans say that we all have them well trained!
    Purrs & Head Bonks,
    Jasmine & The Tribe of Five

  9. I can't remember where I've heard of these creatures before - a movie maybe? Good job training your human, Paisley!

  10. All we know for sure is that the manticore is pretty freaky!! We wouldn't want to run into him on a walk in the woods! :)
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  11. The head of a man? Sounds hideous. We both answered #4 about the same way.