Sunday, March 23, 2008

Word of the Week (March 23-29): bedlamer

Word of the Week (March 23-29)


Entry from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:

bedlamer n also beddamer, bedlemer, bedlimmer, bellamer [phonetics unavailable].
Cp OED ~ 'lunatic' (1675, 1753); EDD bedlam sb1 1 'troublesome person or animal', EDD ~ 1 'Bedlam-beggar' (1742); DC ~ Nfld (1773-) for sense 1; EDD ~ 2 (Nfld: 1898) for sense 2.

1 An immature seal, esp a harp seal, approaching breeding age; also attrib. [1766] 1971 BANKS 145 The Bedlamer Quite dusky without any mark they themselves tell you that the Bedlamer is the young harp.

[1774] 1792 CARTWRIGHT ii, 35-6 We hauled some nets ... and a couple of bedlamers.

[1802] 1916 MURPHY 2-3 Our dependence rests wholly upon Harps and Bedlamers, which are driven by winds and ice from the northeast seas.

1842 JUKES i, 310 When twelve months old the males [harp-seals] are still scarcely to be distinguished from the females, and during that season they are called 'bedlamers.'

1867 SMYTH 93 ~ Young Labrador seals, which set up a dismal cry when they cannot escape their pursuers—and go madly after each other in the sea.

1905 MURPHY 21 "Seal Hunting Song": Old 'bedlamers' we often take, / Their 'pelts' being quite as good, sir, / As any 'swoil' in yield of oil / Be he 'dog harp' or 'hood,' sir.

1923 CHAFE 9 [In migrating] the Harps keep comparatively near the Shore and the Hoods a few miles off. The giddy bedlamers alone break the rules of the road.

1933 GREENE 74 These young Bedlamer seals appear to be free of the strict herd-control that comes with later days. They seem to be allowed to swim, and fish, and herd by themselves, and indeed to live as they choose; whereas some kind of an almost military discipline seems to exist amongst the adult members of these seal communities.

1937 DEVINE 9 ~ A two-year old harp seal, said to be corrupted from the French Bete de la mer, (Beast of the sea). T 80/4--64 This year they're a bellamer, small bellamer, and the next year they're a big bellamer. What we calls a turner seal is tumin' from a bellamer to a harp.

1978 Decks Awash vii (1) [p. ii] ~ a juvenile harp seal from about 1 to 5 years of age which has a spotted coat. 2 A youth approaching manhood, esp in comb ~ boy; MANEEN.

1896 J A Folklore ix, 34 Bedlamer ... is applied rather contemptuously to young fellows between 16 and 20. 1940 SCAMMELL 8 "The Six Horse-Power Coaker": 'Twas coming on night, with the seas feather white, / When up to us rowed a small skiff, / And a bedlamer boy with a cast in his eye, / Kindly offered to give us a lift.

1959 SAMSON vii He, as a 'bedlammer' boy, entertained the notion of going to St John's. T 191-65 There would be always a crowd of bedlamer boys, and when the older people 'd be inside havin' their tea, the young fellers 'd be outside.

Now, we invite u to RELiVE, REMEMBER and REFRESH iT and/or even REDEFiNE iT!

The main thing is to RELiSH iT.

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