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4 Comments

  • A lovely reminder of the dear old dodo. In my Canadian family, dead as a doornail is the usual saying there, but a dodo bird is a silly or stupid person, as in, “Don’t be such a dodo bird.” Or simply, “Don’t be a dodo.”

  • Thanks for your comment, Jesse. Dead as a doornail is more common in my experience too. I don’t hear the dodo ‘silly/stupid person’ sense very often at all.

  • Dodo with or without bird is very common in my family as a sort of euphemism for dummy.

    The identification of the Dodo with Dodgson is reinforced by the fact that he stuttered, causing him to pronounce his name Do-do-dodgson, and the fact that the other birds present, the Duck, the Lory, and the Eaglet, can be confidently identified with Canon Robinson Duckworth, who accompanied Dodgson and the Liddell sisters on the original boating expedition, and with Alice’s sisters Lorina and Edith. See Martin Gardner’s Annotated Alice for references.

  • Thanks for your useful comment, John. My copy of The Annotated Alice was in storage at the time of writing the post, unfortunately. Having since liberated it I find Gardner’s pleasing note that when Dodgson’s biography entered the Encyclopaedia Britannica “it was inserted just before the entry on the Dodo”.