lions


lions
   It was thought in medieval times that the lion, as king of the beasts, was not only noble and virtuous himself but could recognize these qualities in others. It is presumably by extension of this idea that there arose a belief expressed by a servant-girl in Tobias Smollett's novel Humphry Clinker (1771):
   Last week I went with mistress to the Tower, to see the crowns and wild beastis; and there was a mon-stracious lion, with teeth half a quarter long; and a gentleman bid me not go near him, if I wasn't a maid; being as how he would roar, and tear, and play the dickens. (Smollett, Penguin edn., 140)
   There was a 19th-century belief that lions in zoos and circuses only bred once in seven years, and that when this 'Lion Year' came round, if either a lioness or a cub died, many women would die in 'childbirth. Correspondents in N&Q in 1890 and 1895 reported it from Yorkshire, Cheshire, Sussex, Surrey, Newcastle, and Derbyshire, and it was known in Somerset too; in some cases, deaths of piglets were similarly explained (N&Q 7s:9 (1890), 385-6; 7s; 10 (1890), 13; 8s:7 (1895), 366; Elworthy, 1895: 76; Opie and Tatem, 1989: 232). In Cheshire, the same belief applied to the she-bears of travelling showmen. It is now rare, but not extinct; it was mentioned in Sussex in 1940 (JS), and in Northamptonshire in 1985 (Opie and Tatem, 1989: 232).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lions — bezeichnet: den Lions Club Braunschweig Lions British Lions Frankfurt Lions ZSC Lions die British and Irish Lions, eine Rugby Union Auswahlmannschaft die Lions, eine Mannschaft in der Super 14 die Golden Lions, eine Mannschaft im Currie Cup die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lions — (Тбилиси,Грузия) Категория отеля: 2 звездочный отель Адрес: Peritsvaleba Street 23, 0103 Тбили …   Каталог отелей

  • LIONS — acron. ES ingl. Liberty intelligence our nation s safety, libertà intelligenza sicurezza del nostro paese, motto del Lions Club …   Dizionario italiano

  • Lions — Lions, the →↑British Lions, the …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Lions — Le patronyme est porté dans le Sud Est. C est un ancien nom de baptême, équivalent de Léonce (latin Leontius), popularisé notamment par un évêque de Fréjus. Une commune des Alpes de Haute Provence s appelle Saint Lions …   Noms de famille

  • Lions — [gō̂lf dü lyōn′lī′ənz] Gulf of (the) part of the Mediterranean, on the S coast of France, between Toulon & Spain: Fr. name Golfe du Lion [gō̂lf dü lyōn′] …   English World dictionary

  • Lions — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Pour les articles homonymes, voir Lion, Lyon et Lyons. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • -lions — Paillon Pail lon , n.; pl. { lions}. [F., fr. paille straw.] A thin leaf of metal, as for use in gilding or enameling, or to show through a translucent medium. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lions —    The most powerful of all carnivorous animals. Although not now found in Palestine, they must have been in ancient times very numerous there. They had their lairs in the forests (Jer. 5:6; 12:8; Amos 3:4), in the caves of the mountains (Cant. 4 …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • lions — mil·lions; …   English syllables

  • Lions — I. /ˈlaɪənz/ (say luyuhnz) noun an association of community service clubs (Lions Clubs) founded in Chicago, US, in 1917; the first Australian club was formed in 1947 in Lismore, NSW. II. /ˈlaɪənz/ (say luyuhnz) plural noun 1. the, the British… …   Australian English dictionary