Where Does the Word “Gargoyle” Come From and What Does Gargoyle Mean In French?

Architects and masons of the thirteenth century certainly had an odd sense of humor.

Obviously it was their duty to provide means whereby rainwater should be diverted away from the walls immediately below the roof of cathedral or other imposing edifice.

So expert workers in stone were set to carve spouts for this purpose.

And these sculptors undoubtedly vied with one another to think up and effect fanciful concepts, thoroughly practical, but also agreeably ornamental, and, often, highly amusing.

Many of these were grotesque animals in form; another might be in the shape of a demon; others, perhaps, angels; and another a monk or prelate.

But whatever might be represented in stone, all spewed forth streams of water from throat and mouth during a fall of rain.

French for “throat” at that period was gargouille, giving rise to our English gargoyle, by which we know these monstrous carvings.

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