barnacled


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.

bar·na·cle

 (bär′nə-kəl)
n.
1. Any of various marine crustaceans of the subclass Cirripedia that in the adult stage form a hard shell which remains attached to submerged surfaces such as rocks and ships' hulls, and that have feathery appendages used for filter feeding.
2. The barnacle goose.

[Middle English, barnacle goose, from Old French bernacle, from Medieval Latin bernacula, diminutive of bernaca, of unknown origin.]

bar′na·cled adj.
Word History: The word barnacle is known from as far back as the early 13th century. At that time it did not refer to the crustacean, as it does today, but only to the species of waterfowl now more often known as the barnacle goose; more than 300 years went by before barnacle was used to refer to the crustacean. One might well wonder what the connection between these two creatures is. The answer lies in natural history. Until fairly recent times, it was widely believed that certain animals were engendered spontaneously from particular substances. Maggots, for instance, were believed to be generated from rotting meat. Because the barnacle goose breeds in the Arctic, no one at that time had ever witnessed the bird breeding; as a result, it was thought to be spontaneously generated from trees along the shore, or from rotting wood. Wood that has been in the ocean for any length of time is often dotted with barnacles, and it was natural for people to believe that the crustaceans were also engendered directly from the wood, like the geese. In fact, as different as the two creatures might appear to us, they share a similar trait: barnacles have long feathery cirri that are reminiscent of a bird's plumage. This led one writer in 1678 to comment on the "multitudes of little Shells; having within them little Birds perfectly shap'd, supposed to be Barnacles [that is, barnacle geese]." In popular conception the two creatures were thus closely linked. Over time the crustacean became the central referent of the word, and the bird was called the barnacle goose for clarity, making barnacle goose an early example of what we now call a retronym.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in classic literature ?
Then, and for the first time, as I floundered to my feet covered with slime, the blood running down my arms from a scrape against a barnacled stake, I knew that I was drunk.
The long, straight paths were barnacled with weeds; the dense, fine hedges, once prim and angular, had fattened out of all shape or form; and on the velvet sward of other days you might have waded waist high in rotten hay.
Ere that come to pass; ere the Pequod's weedy hull rolls side by side with the barnacled hulls of the leviathan; at the outset it is but well to attend to a matter almost indispensable to a thorough appreciative understanding of the more special leviathanic revelations and allusions of all sorts which are to follow.
In the centre of the mantel was a stuffed bird-of-paradise, while about the room were scattered gorgeous shells from the southern seas, delicate sprays of coral sprouting from barnacled pi-pi shells and cased in glass, assegais from South Africa, stone axes from New Guinea, huge Alaskan tobacco-pouches beaded with heraldic totem designs, a boomerang from Australia, divers ships in glass bottles, a cannibal kai-kai bowl from the Marquesas, and fragile cabinets from China and the Indies and inlaid with mother-of-pearl and precious woods.
We may have many of the trappings of progress, but certain verities that hamper the process of modernization still remain the barnacled attitudes, the landlord mentality of our elite, and not just physicalpoverty but the poverty of spirit in our people.
barnacled white and weeded brown, and slimed beneath to a beautiful green.'
In 1935 a comprehensive plan for Damascus was commissioned by the French authorities from the aptly named Rene Danger, who began the work of isolating the monuments, clearing the warrens that clung to them, scraping away the sheds and shelters that barnacled the mosques, driving wide hygienic streets through the "insalubrious" areas of the city, and replacing congenial hovels with trees, water, and grass.
She was pulled underwater and held her breath as she was sucked 150ft through the barnacled outflow and dumped out to sea, her body stripped of skin.
This landscape is choked with the ostensible evidence of adaptation; there are "long S-shaped birds," mosquitoes whose "ferocious obbligatos" suggest they are hardwired for their hunt, and Darwin's own obsession, the "enormous turtles, helpless and mild," who "die and leave their barnacled shells on the beaches,/and their large white skulls with round eye-sockets/twice the size of a man's." Nothing in this poem is still; every life form is observed in a process apparently linked to its survival: hunting, singing, glowing at night.
A tropical shower spills down on us as we snorkel around the boat - a surprisingly invigorating experience - and we soon get a glimpse of one of these majestic creatures, his barnacled beak bobbing up for air every few minutes before plunging back down and gliding gracefully beneath us.
Barnacled banger: A typically quirky vehicle on the streets of Key West
His oneiric fakeries always come barnacled with enigma and open-endedness, rewinding to move forward--or at least to move.