One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The northern gannet.See gannet (sense 1)
- ‘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.’’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Late Middle English: probably from Old Norse súla ‘gannet’ + and- ‘duck’.
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