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philander, n.2

Pronunciation:  Brit. /fᵻˈlandə/ , U.S. /fəˈlændər/
Forms:  17–18 filander, 17– philander. (Show Less)
Etymology:  < French filander (1718 in a French translation of De Bruyn) or its probable etymon Dutch filanders (C. De Bruyn Reizen Moskovie, Persie en Indie (1711) lvi. 374/1); further etymology unknown. Compare scientific Latin philander, specific name (in Didelphis philander; Linnaeus Systema Naturæ (1735)) and Philander, genus name (M. J. Brisson Regnum Animale (1762) 285).
An etymology from the name Philander   de Bruyn appears to arise from a misunderstanding in E. E. Morris Austral. Eng. (1898) at Philander of the name of Cornelius de Bruyn (compare quot. 1737 at sense 1).
The following quotations suggest transference of the name of the mouse deer, Malay pelanduk   (see pelandok n.) (taken to mean ‘rabbit’ by Western writers), with subsequent assimilation to the forename Philander:
1800   G. Shaw Gen. Zool. I. ii. 477   Molucca Opossum... It is found in great plenty in Aroe and Solor, and is known in some parts of the East indies by the name of Pelander Aroe, or the Aroe Rabbet.
1827   E. Griffith et al. Cuvier's Animal Kingdom II. 70   The name..of philander is not, as might be supposed derived from the Greek, but from the word pelandor, which in Malay means a rabbit, and which the inhabitants of Amboyna give to a species of kangaroo.

1. (Usu. in form filander.) The dusky wallaby or pademelon, Thylogale brunii, of New Guinea and some neighbouring islands. Obs.

1737   tr. C. de Bruyn Trav. into Muscovy II. lxvii. 101   When I was at our general's country seat [in Java] I saw a certain animal called Filander.
1841   G. R. Waterhouse Marsupialia 225   Filander Kangaroo, Macropus Brunii.

1737—1841(Hide quotations)


 2. Any of various marsupials of the genus Philander, now restricted to South American opossums of the family Didelphidae which typically have a white spot above each eye. Also (now chiefly) philander opossum.Valid publication of the genus name: F. Tiedemann Zoologie (1808) I. 426.

1753   Chambers's Cycl. Suppl.   Didelphis, the name by which Linnæus calls the animal called philander by other writers.
1775   W. Kenrick & J. Murdoch tr. Buffon Nat. Hist. Animals, Veg., & Minerals II. 352   The middle-sized and small ones are,..the coati, the paca, the philander, or opossum, the aperea, and the tatou.
1827   E. Griffith et al. Cuvier's Animal Kingdom V. 188 (heading)    Philander opossum.
1859   S. G. Goodrich Illustr. Nat. Hist. Animal Kingdom II. 672/1 (Index),   Philander, Naked-tailed.
1871   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 161 258   Some Opossums, e.g. the murine and dorsigerous Philanders,..have the mandible intermediate in size.
1981   Biotropica 13 233   A Javelin Model 221 night vision scope was used to observe predators, including philander opossums (Philander opossum), at distances of 2-4 m.

1753—1981(Hide quotations)


3. The rabbit-eared bandicoot or bilby, Macrotis lagotis. Obs. rare.

1840   E. Blyth et al. Cuvier's Animal Kingdom 104   Two or three more [bandicoots] have been indicated, one of which, P[erameles]_lagotis, Reid, is ranged by Prof. Owen as the Philander (Thalacomys, Owen).

1840—1840(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2005).

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