Wednesday 18 January 2023


'Boar-cat' was an early name for a male cat. An alternative name was 'ram-cat'. Both were replaced by 'tom-cat' in the 18th century, with the spelling now normally being 'tomcat'. You can go back further to medieval times (500-1500 AD) when tomcats were called 'Gyb' which was a shortened name for Gilbert which is why it is capitalized in contrast to tomcat which is not.

The 'painting below' is by an AI computer on instructions to paint a 'medieval scene with cat'. I think the result is pretty damned good:

Cat in a medieval scene
Cat in a medieval scene as painted by DALLE E an AI computer.

Gyb was a generic name but it could also be a given name to an individual cat. And there were variations on the name such as 'Gibbe' and 'Gybbe'.

A Scottish poem from the late fifteenth century by Robert Henryson goes:

"When two mice are on a table-top,
Barely have they drunk once or twice
When in comes Gib Hunter, our cat."

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