gargoyle

EnglishEdit

 
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Gargoyles (spouts) at Amiens Cathedral.

EtymologyEdit

From Old French gargouille. Doublet of gargle. The Académie Française suggests the first attestation as gargoule in 1294.

PronunciationEdit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɡɑː.ɡɔɪl/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɡɑɹ.ɡɔɪl/
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NounEdit

gargoyle (plural gargoyles)

  1. A carved grotesque figure on a spout which conveys water away from the gutters.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[1]:
      As we went, however, I took the precaution of noting our route as well as I could; and this was not so very difficult, owing to the extraordinary and most fantastic shape of the rocks that were strewn about, many of which in that dim light looked more like the grim faces carven upon mediæval gargoyles than ordinary boulders.
    • 1906, Rafael Sabatini, The Trampling of the Lilies, page 110:
      From between set teeth came now a flow of oaths and imprecations as steady as the flow of water from the gargoyle overhead.
  2. Any decorative carved grotesque figure on a building.
  3. A fictional winged monster.
    • 2005, Mel Odom, The Secret Explodes, page 200:
      Almost immediately one of the gargoyles swept down from the sky and attacked him. The gargoyle's momentum drove them both over the side.
  4. (slang, derogatory) An ugly woman.

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