rabot (s.xiii-xiv)

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rabot (s.xiii-xiv)


[ FEW: 16,730a robbe; Gdf: ; GdfC: 10,467 rabot; TL: 8,126 rabot 2; DEAF:  rabot 2; DMF:  rabot 1; TLF:  rabot; OED:  rabat n.1; MED:  rabat n.2; DMLBS: 2645a rabota ]

The word rabot appears in the French and English dictionaries with the primary sense of ‘carpenter’s plane’ (apparently so called because of the tool’s resemblance to a rabbit, although that etymology has been contested, cf. OED). The FEW adds a range of other, similar, senses, including ‘instrument des pêcheurs pour troubler l’eau’ (FEW 16,730b), and GdfC has ‘Lame de fer munie d’un long manche pour remuer le mortier’. The DMLBS defines rabota solely as ‘hooked rod’, considering it a borrowing from Anglo-Norman.

In AND1 the word was defined as ‘pole, stick’. However, a closer look at the sole attestation – as a gloss in Alexander Nequam’s De Nominibus Utensilium – does not support this interpretation. In Nequam, the word rabot functions as a gloss to Latin contur, which the DMLBS translates as ‘pole, pike, (shaft of) spear’, ‘fish-spear, gaff or sim.’ or ‘mundle, pot-stirrer’. Since this passage in Nequam lists kitchen utensils, it is only the third sense of ‘pot-stirrer’ that can be relevant in this Latin context. Indeed, alternative manuscripts of the same Nequam text usually gloss contus with the more common (and semantically transparent) word movurmovur for ‘pot-stirrer’.

This suggests that Anglo-Norman rabot is used with a similar sense – one that remains otherwise unattested, but analogous to the pole used either by fishermen to stir up the water or by builders to mix their mortar. In contrast, the primary sense of ‘carpenter’s plane’ in Continental French and Middle English does not appear to be attested in Anglo-Norman.


1domesticimplementpot-stirrer (?)
( MS: s.xiii-xiv )  In quoquina =in the kitchen sit mensula, super quam olus apte minuatur et lecticula [...] Item sint ibi olle, tripodes, securis [...], pilus, contus gallice: rabot, uncus, cacabus [...]  i 181.60 and ii 82.60
This is an AND2 Phase 5 (R-S) entry. © 2018-21 The Anglo-Norman Dictionary. All rights reserved. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom.