Saturday, 19 July 2014

Crone - What a Carrion!

A silhouette of an old crone
Image from Wikipedia


Noun. Late Middle English.
[Probably Middle Dutch croonje, caroonje carcass, old ewe from Old Northern French caroigne (modern French charogne) carrion, cantankerous or mischievous woman.
Sense 1 perhaps directly from Old Northern French.]

1(a) A withered old woman. LME

1(b) A worn-out old man. rare. M17

2 An old ewe. Also crone sheep. M16

Need to insult an elderly woman? Need a word that encapsulates both her withered physical state and proximity to death? Then you need crone, which is derived from the Old French for carrion, which the OED defines as 'dead putrefying flesh', making crone both a metaphorical smackdown and horribly insulting to the requisite degree. And ... also ... shame on you. No, really, shame on you indeed.

Do please leave your most gerontophobic comments in the box below.
(though, seriously, please: no gerontophobia here)


  1. Croneocracy - government by withered old women and worn out men. Looks like we in the UK
    Could be headed that way.
    P.S. Couplet is a bonus.

    1. 'Croneocracy' is great - is sounds so authentic.

      Croneocracy: A government by withered old crones, usually as part of a gerontocratic gynaecocracy.

      For some reason, Margaret Thatcher immediately springs to mind.

    2. It would make a good film starring Sid James and Barbara Windsor - Carrion Governing. Alas, Sid James is no longer with us.

    3. D'you know - I did try and think of a Carry On film with a title I could use as a pun, but ... alas ... I couldn't.

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