Ladrar, the Spanish word meaning ‘to bark,’ is little changed from the synonymous Latin verb lātrāre. While no ordinary English relative comes to mind, the adjective latrant*, derived from the present participle of the Latin verb, exists. It means, not surprisingly, ‘barking, snarling,’ although the Merriam-Webster Dictionary marks the word archaic, and the Collins English Dictionary literary. Back in 1845, when the word might have had a little more life in it than it does now, the Encyclopædia Metropolitana gave two examples from poetry:

Thy care be first the various gifts to trace,
The minds and genius of the latrant race.
—Tickell, “On Hunting”

Whose latrant stomachs oft protest
The deep-laid plans their dreams suggest.
— Green, “The Spleen”

When it comes to things zoological, we note that the scientific name of the coyote is Canis latrans, even if related species could equally well be described as ‘barking.’

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* The first syllable rhymes with that of matron.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jim R
    May 20, 2017 @ 08:27:50

    I think archaic is an appropriate designation.


  2. Playamart - Zeebra Designs
    May 20, 2017 @ 16:27:48

    the word made me think of ‘Lahar’ which has nothing to do with bark, unless one can imagine the volcanic mud flow ‘barking’ to announce its arrival! interesting – thanks for the trivia!


  3. shoreacres
    May 21, 2017 @ 17:36:28

    The first thing that came to mind was the expression “barked shin.” There’s no question that I “bark” when I do that, at least in a sense, but I wondered if that yelp we let out was the source of the phrase.

    It seems not. Apparently “barked shins” are peeled shins, in the same way that barking a tree peels off the outer covering. (I once barked a couple of logs up in the hill country, while listening to an A&M and UT football game. What can I say? Life is filled with strange experiences.)


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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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