One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The northern gannet.See gannet (sense 1)
- ‘The wildlife includes otters, seals, salmon and trout and well over 200 different species of birds such as red-throated divers, corncrake, solan geese and a few pairs of golden eagles.’
- ‘The only wild animal is the mouse; but the islets swarm with myriads of sea-fowl-fulmar, puffins, guillemots, razor-bills, and solan geese, which annually supply the islanders with great part of their wealth.’
- ‘The main body of the solan geese build on the West Craigs, although a number build also on the Main Craigs; while the guillemots and razorbills seem to confine themselves to the West.’
- ‘Known locally as solan geese, gannets are Britain's biggest seabird, having a wingspan of up to six feet.’
- ‘The minister of North Berwick, in the character of vicar of the Bass, still receives annually, according to very ancient custom, ‘twelve solan geese, entire, with their feathers on.’’
Late Middle English: probably from Old Norse súla ‘gannet’ + and- ‘duck’.
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