Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To wound (oneself) by biting at the breast. Used of the pelican, which was once believed to feed its young with its blood, as a heraldic motif and symbol of Christ.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. vulnerability (a weakness in software etc. that can be maliciously exploited)

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To wound: in heraldry, especially said of the pelican, which is blazoned as vulning herself when represented as tearing her breast to feed her young. Compare pelican in her piety, under pelican.

Etymologies

From Latin vulnerāre, to wound; see vulnerable.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Shortening. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Never thought of it that way, yarb, but that's true. And c_b, I have an interest, but it's mostly in the symbolism, less in the actual history (although that's also fascinating).

    October 18, 2007

  • This shoots to #1 on my "to use in conversation or official reports" list. The trouble with these wonderful heraldry words is, they set their sights too low. I get the sense we can learn a lot from heraldry.

    October 18, 2007

  • This is one whacked-out verb!

    Ooh, sionnach, do please start a heraldry list someday. I started a medieval heraldry list, but I don't feel like I ever gave it due attention. It feels half done--which is silly to say of a Wordie list (aren't they all half done?). I'd like to see what others come up with.

    Anyone else with an interest in heraldry out there? *raises hand* The intersection of military history and art, that's what it is.

    October 18, 2007

  • These days, they give birds anti-anxiety meds for that. ;-)

    I've always loved that idea of the pelican symbolizing Christ. Odd, but fascinating.

    October 18, 2007

  • Um....eeew!

    October 18, 2007

  • To wound (oneself) by biting at the breast. Used of the pelican, which was once believed to feed its young with its blood, as a heraldic motif and symbol of Christ.

    A heraldry word, odd yet charming.

    Time to start a heraldry list. As soon as I get done with an alchemy list... So many words, so little time.

    October 18, 2007