The Foxopedia

A pathway providing an insight into The World of Words and Writing



Word of the Week……..


A little information about an everyday word this week.  We are always finding weird and wonderful words, but we have come across the history behind….


We all know the Gorilla as a large, black, hairy primate that lives in zoos and inhabits the wild forests of central Africa, but Gorilla is Greek in origin and was first translated to mean a ‘tribe of hairy women’.

Before the advances of technology, stories from distant lands were simply retold through the generations, often without any proof of existence.  History recalls that sometime during the sixth century (BC), an Admiral named Hanno sailed down the western coast of Africa and reported of an encounter with a tribe of ‘aggressive hairy women’.  His diaries were engraved on stone and when when the Greeks interpreted the inscriptions, Gorillai was their translation of the name Hanno had nicknamed them.  Whilst the original stones are no longer in existence, the Greek translations are.

It has been thought, over time, that maybe he meant a group of long haired black women, but there will never be any clarity.  Had he met a Gorilla, as know it today, or was it some ancient tribe of women?

When it came to scientifically naming the primate, Thomas Savage, an American protestant clergyman, missionary, and physician, who was aware of Hanno’s findings, decided on ‘Gorilla’.

I suppose one of the advantages of history and the myths and stories from so long ago, is that to some extent, we can allow our imaginations to decide…… I wonder, who did he meet?



This was created in association with The Brown Fox Bureau – providing professional reliable proofreading and editing services.




Word of the week…….


So, after a little break and with the New Year here, we are now back into the wonderful world of words and books.  We picked two today, one is something that every single one of us experiences every day:


Refers to the first person one comes across upon leaving his or her house, more historically the first person on New Year’s Day or a special occasion.

Now, the question that arises: would that be the first person you spoke to, or the first person you saw?  For us, particularly me, if it was the former it would be the shop assistant in Waitrose, if the latter, it would be my cat if animals are included, if not my next-door neighbour!

Who was your Qualtagh this morning?

The second word is because it made us smile:


A mental condition where a person believes that they have become a cat! People regularly comment after visiting our cats here, that they would like to come back as a cat as ours are so spoilt.  We can understand the want to believe that you’re a cat – sleeping all day, cuddles, strokes, eating and then sleep again – in the warm!  Perhaps you could pretend for a day. 😊


Word of the Week……..


Dedicated to Amber….

It has been a couple of quiet weeks at The Foxopedia as unfortunately one of our beautiful cats was tragically run over and passed away, so work has not been a priority.  It has been a devastating time.

So, today we thought we would highlight some unusual words from the Cat World – especially for any of you other cat lovers out there.  Here we go:-

KINDLE – not what you might think – taken from the Middle English word ‘kindelen’ (meaning to give birth to), a kindle also signifies a pack of kittens.

CHATOVANT – a changeable colour usually cut within a gem stone with a narrow band of white light similar to a cats eye, from the french word ‘chatoyer’ – ‘to shimmer like a cat’s eye’.

VIBRISSAE – from the latin term ‘vibrare’, this is the scientific term for a cat’s whiskers.

GRIMALKIN – an obsolete term for a cat with a grumpy looking face – this is our other fat cat’s new nickname! 🙂

and finally……

AILUROPHILE – in simple terms, a cat lover, sums us up perfectly!



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