Word Confusion: Faun versus Fawn

Posted April 10, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

I’m pretty sure that “young faun frolicking amongst the does” was not the mythological beast that’s half-man, half-goat, ahem, since most fauns prefer to frolic amongst naked females. Hmmm, maybe it is my wrong interpretation? After all, those does are “naked females”…

Nah, I’m going with my original thought that the author meant the Bambi-type fawns…

This Word Confusion pair is an heterograph.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Faun Fawn
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

An oil painting with

“Pan and Syrinx” was painted by Jean François de Troy and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Pan is the Greek version of a faun.


A big-eyed fawn curled up in the grass

“Fawn in Grass” by ForestWander of ForestWander Nature Photography is under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Noun
Plural for noun: fauns , fauni
Noun 1;
Verb, intransitive 1, 2

Verb, intransitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: fawns
Past tense or past participle: fawned
Gerund or present participle: fawning

[Roman mythology] One of a class of lustful rural gods, represented as a man with a goat’s horns, ears, legs, and tail

[Greek mythology] Equivalent to the god Pan, satyrs

Noun:
A young deer in its first year

A light yellowish-brown color

Verb, intransitive:
[Of a deer] Produce young 1

[Of a person; often followed by on or upon] Give a servile display of exaggerated flattery or affection, typically in order to gain favor or advantage

  • [Of an animal, especially a dog; often followed by on or upon] Show slavish devotion, especially by crawling and rubbing against someone 2
Examples:
Mr. Tumnus is a faun who appears in C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia.

While Grover, in Percy Jackson & the Olympians, is a satyr, Don, in Rick Riordan’s Son of Neptune, is a faun.

“Though fauns and satires have human heads and ‘therefore presumably have the capacity for advanced reasoning, their half-animal natures suggest that their behaviour is governed by their baser physical instinct” (Brown, 57).

Noun:
Oh, did you see that cute fawn in the backyard!

Check out the fawn checked suit Marian is wearing.

Does are getting prepared to feed themselves and the developing fawn through the harsh cold of winter.

Verb, intransitive:
Deer are in fawn for between 180 and 200 days.

They were always fawning on the President.

The fawning of a deer effects their seasonal patterns and habits.

That Fido fawns all over you.

Derivatives:
Adjective: faunlike
Noun: fauna, Faunus
Adjective: fawning, fawnlike
Adverb: fawningly
Noun: fawner, fawningness
History of the Word:
Late Middle English from the name of the pastoral god Faunus. 1 Late Middle English from the Old French faon, based on the Latin fetus meaning offspring.

2 Old English fagnian meaningmake or be glad is related to fain.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Silenus and the Satyrs” by Cima da Conegliano is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.


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