The Name Annone

March 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

Annone-  pronounced  “ahn-o-ney”

“According to zoologists, elephants do not respond to pet names…they are only given names to distinguish one from another in a herd.”  S. Bedini, The Pope’s Elephant (Manchester, 1997)

aana  or ana- Malayalam (the language spoken in Kerala) for elephant. T.A. Burrow,  Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, (Oxford, 1961)

ani- 16th century Malayalam word then in use for elephant.  Garcia da Orta, Coloquios, (1563)

anne– Malabar word for elephant. Cristobal de Acosta, Trattato, (Venice, 1585)

The Romans named the beast Annone, or Big Anno, adding the augmentative suffix “-one” to what they heard when they asked the mahout what the elephant was called.

(A white elephant brought to Holland from India in 1655 was given the name Hansken, the Dutch diminutive of “aana”. Rembrandt drew Hansken.)

Annone was later anglicized to “Hanno”.

anno- Italian word meaning “year”

ano– Italian word meaning “anus”

anone–  is not really an Italian word, but means literally, “big anus”.

The difference in pronunciation between “anone” and “annone” is subtle, but distinguishable.


§ One Response to The Name Annone

  • Be sure to let your tongue dwell a nice long time on the double “nn”… although big anus is not a familiar vulgarity so it might take the other person a few seconds to parse it. Just enough time to give you a head start when running away!

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