from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A word occurring in the phrase to be at dulcarnon—that is, to be at a loss, to be uncertain what course to take. It is found in the following passage from Chaucer:
- n. Dulcarnon represents the Arabic dhū 'l karnein, ‘lord of the two horns,’ a name applied to Alexander, either because he boasted himself the son of Jupiter Ammon, and therefore had his coins stamped with horned images, or, as some say, because he had in his power the eastern and western world, signified in the two horns. (Selden's Preface to Drayton's Polyolbion.) But the epithet was also applied to the 47th proposition of Euclid, in which the squares of the two sides of the right-angled triangle stand out something like two horns. This proposition was confounded by Chaucer with the 5th proposition, the famous pons asinorum. This, for some reason, was in the middle ages termed Elefuga, which is explained as meaning ‘flight of the miserable,’ or, as Chaucer renders it. ‘flemyng of wreches.’ Ele was supposed to be derived from elegi, meaning miserable, and this latter was itself derived from elegia, meaning sorrow. The passage from Chaucer was first thus explained in the London Athenœum, Sept. 23, 1871, p. 393.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Mr. Jacobs offers up such nuggets as the fact that Edgar Allen Poe married his 13-year-old cousin; among other words, Mr. Shea defines "dulcarnon" -- it's a person in a dilemma.