Click the photograph for more information about this bird.
Two unrelated English words have ended up as lore. The more common one, which means ‘a traditional body of knowledge,’ appears in the second line of Poe’s famous poem “The Raven”:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
The other lore is a biological term. It refers to something you probably didn’t know there was a word for: ‘the region between a bird’s eye and its bill.’ That region is typically strap-shaped (see photo above), and in fact lore was borrowed from the Latin noun lōrum that meant ‘strap, thong.’ Botanical Spanish uses the adjective lorado to mean ‘strap-shaped,’ but ornithological Spanish doesn’t appear to have borrowed the noun *loro (perhaps because it would get confused with the loro that means ‘parrot’).
From the root of lōrum
the Romans seem to have created Latin lōrīca
, which designated ‘
a leather cuirass, a corselet of thongs.’ English uses that word as a historical term, and by analogy biologists have extended the definition of lorica
to a ‘protective external shell or case, as of a rotifer or any of certain other microscopic organisms.’
© 2017 Steven Schwartzman