crosier » crow’s ear

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • The 84-year-old John Paul was laid out in Clementine Hall, dressed in white and red vestments, his head covered with a white bishop’s miter and propped up on three dark gold pillows. Tucked under his left arm was the silver staff, called the crow’s ear, that he had carried in public. (International Herald Tribune, Apr 4, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/04/21 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Sarah , 2005/05/15 at 6:01 pm

    Influenced by a legitimate synonym for “crozier”: “shepherd’s crook”? “Crow’s ear” obviously makes no sense, but the user could be working from a vague connection with this other, metaphoric, bucolic-sounding, animal-related name, also formed as possessive + noun.

    (Interestingly, “crozier” literally means the subordinate to the pope who carries his crook for him, just as the “crucifer” is the one who carries the cross, but has come to mean the object itself.)

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