mas·cot (măs’kŏt′, -kət)
n. A person, animal, or object supposed to bring good luck or used as the symbol of an organization, such as a sports team.
[French mascotte, sorcerer's charm, mascot, from Provençal mascoto, sorcery, fetish, from masco, witch; akin to Latin masca, specter, witch, of unknown origin.]
Word History: Mascot came into English as a borrowing of the French word mascotte, meaning "mascot, charm." The English word is first recorded in 1881, shortly after the French word (itself first recorded in 1867) was popularized by the comic opera La Mascotte by the French composer Edmond Audran (1841-1901), first performed in 1880. The opera tells the story of a maid named Bettina who brings good luck and success to those around her. If she loses her virginity, however, her powers will disappear, and the plot revolves around the attempts of a noble and a successful farmer to prevent the loss of her powers after she falls in love with a shepherd. The French word mascotte, used in this opera to designate Bettina as a person who brings luck, comes from the Provençal word mascoto, "piece of witchcraft, charm, amulet," a diminutive of masco, "witch." Provençal masco is itself undoubtedly related to the Latin word masca, "specter," and these two words are further related to a group of terms in the Romance languages that have to do with the color black—a reflection of the intimate association between sorcery and the color black in popular belief. These terms include Old French mascurer, "to daub, blacken" and Catalan mascara, "soot, smut." The group also includes the Spanish word máscara and the Italian word maschera, both meaning "mask" (probably originally referring to a face daubed with pigment). These two words are the probable sources of the English word mascara. (The meaning of the Spanish and Italian words, however, may have been influenced by the Arabic term masḫara, "object of derision, masquerade.") Italian maschera is also the source of the French word masque, "mask," which is in turn the source of the English word mask. Although the ultimate source of all these Romance words relating to the notions of "witch" and "black," remains unknown, they may have originated among the languages that were spoken in Western Europe in pre-Roman times and later replaced by Latin.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mascot — Mascot, TN U.S. Census Designated Place in Tennessee Population (2000): 2119 Housing Units (2000): 934 Land area (2000): 6.953397 sq. miles (18.009215 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.165204 sq. miles (0.427876 sq. km) Total area (2000): 7.118601 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Mascot, TN — U.S. Census Designated Place in Tennessee Population (2000): 2119 Housing Units (2000): 934 Land area (2000): 6.953397 sq. miles (18.009215 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.165204 sq. miles (0.427876 sq. km) Total area (2000): 7.118601 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • mascot — [mas′kät΄, mas′kət] n. [Fr mascotte < Prov mascot, dim. of masco, sorcerer (< ?): in pop. use, after La Mascotte (1880), operetta by E. Audran (1840 1901), Fr composer] 1. any person, animal, or thing supposed to bring good luck 2. any… …   English World dictionary

  • Mascot — Mas cot, Mascotte Mas cotte, n. [Through French fr. Pr. mascot a little sorcerer or magician, mascotto witchcraft, sorcery.] 1. A person who is supposed to bring good luck to the household to which he or she belongs. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence:… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mascot — Surtout porté dans le Pas de Calais, le nom est à rapprocher de Mascart (voir ce nom) …   Noms de famille

  • mascot — (n.) talisman, charm, 1881, from provincial Fr. mascotte sorcerer s charm, faerie friend, good luck piece (19c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps from or related to Prov. mascoto sorcery, fetish (Cf. Narbonnese manuscript, 1233, mascotto procuress,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • mascot — ► NOUN ▪ a person, animal, or object that is identified with a person, group, team, etc. and supposed to bring good luck. ORIGIN French mascotte, from Provençal masco witch …   English terms dictionary

  • Mascot — For other uses, see Mascot (disambiguation). Millie, costumed character mascot of the Brampton Arts Council …   Wikipedia

  • Mascot — Der Name Mascot bezeichnet eine britische Automobilmarke (1906–1907), siehe Mascot (Automarke) eine schwedische Automobilmarke (um 1920), siehe Mascot (Cyclecar) Mascot Pictures Corporation, US amerikanisches Filmstudio Mascot (Software), Search… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mascot — 1 Original name in latin Mascot Name in other language Mascot State code AU Continent/City Australia/Sydney longitude 33.93333 latitude 151.2 altitude 8 Population 8518 Date 2012 01 18 2 Original name in latin Mascot Name in other language State… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • mascot — [[t]mæ̱skɒt[/t]] mascots N COUNT: usu with supp A mascot is an animal, toy, or symbol which is associated with a particular organization or event, and which is thought to bring good luck. Our school had a mascot known as Freddy Bird. ...the… …   English dictionary

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