Mooncalf Meaning?

I want to know the meaning of the word Mooncalf. It was mentioned in a play at school and I was scratching my head when I heard it.
I think the term comes from a European folk tradition and has something to do with the moon.
What does the term mooncalf refer to? What's the meaning of the word?

asked by Theodore in Languages | 5046 views | 10-29-2009 at 03:16 AM

Mooncalf was a term formerly ascribed to the abortive fetus of a cow or other farm animal, and also occasionally to that of a human.

Modern usage

The term came to be used to also refer to any monstrous or grotesque thing. Shakespeare, for instance, used the term to describe Caliban, the deformed servant of Prospero, in The Tempest.

Mooncalf is used as a derogatory term to indicate someone is a dullard, fool or otherwise not particularly bright or sharp. For example, W. C. Fields in "The Bank ****" (1940) advises his prospective son-in-law to avoid being a "mooncalf" by buying shares he has been beguiled into believing are worth much more than the proffered price.

answered by Pedro | 10-29-2009 at 03:16 AM

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