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  1. julio's Avatar

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    #1

    Like a weathercock

    Is this saying popular: "You are [like] a weathercock!"?

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    #2

    Re: Like a weathercock

    Hello Julio,

    I seldom hear that expression; though I think most people would understand it.

    Best wishes,

    MrP
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    Not a professional ESL teacher.
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    #3

    Re: Like a weathercock

    I honestly don't recall ever hearing this expression or even the word "weathercock" (in New England and elsewhere, they're "weathervanes") in conversation.

    Regardless, the meaning is not lost. A weathercock's job is to point in the direction from which the wind is blowing. To say someone is like a weathercock suggests the subject is known to express agreement with whatever opinion or attitude is most popular within a group or the general public at a given time.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Like a weathercock

    It's dated now, but still common in French and other European languages.

  3. julio's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: Like a weathercock

    Thank you. I guess “Like a weathercock” would be a derogatory definition/label for an inconstant person, but I think the saying is/was mostly applied to women [in the sense that the gadget is all the time moving from side to side as the wind blows on it].

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    #6

    Re: Like a weathercock

    Quote Originally Posted by julio View Post
    Thank you. I guess “Like a weathercock” would be a derogatory definition/label for an inconstant person, but I think the saying is/was mostly applied to women [in the sense that the gadget is all the time moving from side to side as the wind blows on it].
    I beg to disagree with you, women are not all weathercocks. I know a few men who are though. Here's a little anecdote: Our Prime Minister in Québec insulted a member of the opposition once (a man) by saying that he was a weathercock. Since then, it is forbidden to use this word during sessions in the Parliament. See!

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Like a weathercock

    I have only ever heard it applied to men, also.... to politicians.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Like a weathercock

    Shouldn't it be a 'weatherhen' if applied to women? Or better, a gender neutral term like 'weatherfowl'.

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    #9

    Re: Like a weathercock

    As I said in my first reply, the reference is to what we now commonly call a weathervane, moving this way and that as the wind changes. The traditional image of a weathervane is not a hen, but a rooster (a/k/a cock); it was (and in some places, may still be) called a weathercock.

    The subject of the comparison is being accused not just of following the crowd, but of actively altering position to match the moment. Yes, the symbolism is that of the male bird, but no gender is implied regarding the subject of the comparison.

    No, it should not be called a weatherhen or weatherfowl. Unless, of course, there is more interest in sterilizing language for the sake of political correctness than in celebrating the richness of the centuries. What a boring world it would be.

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Like a weathercock

    If you want to avoid the use of a term that could be interpreted as referring to gender, there is the word weathervane definition | Dictionary.com .

    b

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