English 10: Writing Portfolio
Catholic Memorial High School
|The word 'Lion' is just to exiting
to sleep on! Most people look at a lion and
think of it as a symbol of strength or even leadership while others look at the actual creature
itself as a king of sorts. Through time it's always been considered something that
shouldn't be reckoned with because of its nature. We can think about it more scientifically
with its place in the the food chain and see how we might have originally made our conclusions. But
just as it being seen as a leader doesn't always mean its good. Different people looked at the
word in an offensive manor! Because of what we hold it to today the word has numerous idioms and
slangs that if were said today could be perfectly understood!
The common definition of lion is agreeabfly similar in most dictionarys. The American Heritage
defines it as " A large carniverous feline mammal (Panthera leo) of Africa and northwest India,
having a short tawny coat, a tuffed tail and, in the male, a heavy mane around the neck and
shoulders" as well as defining it as a brave, fierce idolized or even a savage person. The
World Net looks at the main definition relatively equal but instead goes into the astrological
definitions of Leo. An abridgement from Dictionary.com uses all of these along with the words
symbolic ties to Britain and even a few idioms and related adjective forms like lion-like and
The OED takes the easy, basic version most dictionaries give and extends it in the physical
and symbolic meaning we see through 'lion'; "A large carniverous quadruped, Felis
leo, now found native in Africa and southern Asia, of a tawny or yellowish brown colour, having a
tuffed tail. The male is deistinguised by a flowing shaggy mane. It is very powerful and has a noble
and impressive appearance; whence it is sometimes called 'the king of beasts'. In early
use the name was applied to both sexes; from 13th c. the derivitive lioness had been used for the
female." In irony to how we look at it today it was defined as an animal that may be weak or
easily frightened! In example it is used toward 'The Cotswold Lion' which is a sheep.
'Lion' also has a fair share of idioms. 'A lion in the way' describes an
obsticle in someon'es life most commonly a mental one. 'The Lion's mouth' (or
paws) describes an extremely perilous place. 'The Lions share' is a commonly heard one
which describes the greatest piece of something/ Two idioms we wouldn't see today are 'the
lion's skin' and 'the lion's provider.' On last note for idioms ' To
twist the lion's tail' is a foreigner insulting Great Britain or today we may use it
towards other high powers. This use originated from the practice of bringing visitors to see lions
kept in the Tower of London. In slang terms, visitors of Oxford are considered lion and lioness. All
in all, the word lion is powerfully versatile due to the words symbolic meaning in the world.
'Lion' dates back to c825 but the first known author was K Aelfred in c89;
"Se leo bring his hungre um hwelpum hwaet to ethane." Because of the word's age it
is no suprise that it has created so many side meanings over the years. The first pinned date we
have found for the word was used in c1330 but it wasn't till 1537 we agreed on the spelling.
The word was so used everyone developed different spellings and most likely could never come
together and agree on a spelling because of their separation.
The symbol of 'lion' carries on today with new interpretations. In the London
Times a recently dated article descibes a casino owner working to legalize the 'lion
dance' in China which has been banned for about 40 years. A more common use of the word today
is toward the Detroit Lions; The Boston Globe leaves a trail of this in numerous articles. This
shows that today lions are still considered powerful and mighty.
Since defining 'lion' can be spread so far out you can expect that many of the
definitions will die out while others carry on considering we still have the animal to that date. We
see the word everywhere today (even more in England) and we can assume its here to stay till English