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  • Weathercocks and Vanes
    Weathercocks and Vanes
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n weathercock weathervane with a vane in the form of a rooster
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Weathercock A vane, or weather vane; -- so called because originally often in the figure of a cock, turning on the top of a spire with the wind, and showing its direction. "As a wedercok that turneth his face with every wind.""Noisy weathercocks rattled and sang of mutation."
    • Weathercock Hence, any thing or person that turns easily and frequently; one who veers with every change of current opinion; a fickle, inconstant person.
    • v. t Weathercock To supply with a weathercock; to serve as a weathercock for. "Whose blazing wyvern weathercock the spire."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n weathercock A vane or weather-vane; a pointing device, set on the top of a spire or other elevation, and turning with the wind, thus showing its direction. See cut under vane.
    • n weathercock Figuratively, any thing or person that is easily and frequently turned or swayed; a fickle or inconstant person.
    • weathercock To serve as a weathercock to or on.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Weathercock a vane (often in the form of a cock) to show the direction of the wind: anything turning easily and often
    • ***


  • Aldous Huxley
    “But a priest's life is not supposed to be well-rounded; it is supposed to be one-pointed -- a compass, not a weathercock.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. weder; Ice. vedhr, Ger. wetter.


In literature:

I remember observing, on our way, the dazzling brilliance of its weathercock.
"The Adventures of Harry Revel" by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
Now it shot out in a straight line from the gilded beak of the weathercock, now veered about, or declined from the vane.
"Round About a Great Estate" by Richard Jefferies
Master Marlowe hath too deep a reading i' the books of nature to nail his heart upon a gilded weathercock.
"The Works of Christopher Marlowe, Vol. 3 (of 3)" by Christopher Marlowe
Better be a weathercock and change about, than be always sticking fast.
"The Weathercock" by George Manville Fenn
All his opinions, all his feelings, spin round and round like a weathercock in a whirlwind.
"Critical and Historical Essays, Volume III (of 3)" by Thomas Babington Macaulay
The weathercock of those days is no more, or we might measure the throw.
"Highways and Byways in Surrey" by Eric Parker
The summer night was as dark as if it had been October, the weathercock creaked, and the storm was raging in every direction.
"The Lilac Fairy Book" by Andrew Lang
The weathercock and the moon sit still, whatever happens.
"Frances Kane's Fortune" by L. T. Meade
He is very much of a weathercock-make in his intellect.
"Talkers" by John Bate
Her moods changed as rapidly as a weathercock before a thunderstorm.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. XXII (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
The latter varies and shifts as a weathercock veers with the changing winds.
"The Story of General Pershing" by Everett T. (Everett Titsworth) Tomlinson
The very weathercocks stood still to enjoy the sight.
"Library of the World's Best literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 12" by Various
And many a time have I got up in the night to see if the weathercock had turned; it turned often enough, but you came not.
"Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales" by Hans Christian Andersen
They somewhat resembled weathercocks, but were fat and stupid and thought only of stuffing themselves with food.
"Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales" by Hans Christian Andersen
Your choice changes as your own humour or the weathercock turns.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, No. 359, September 1845" by Various
What moral sentence does a weathercock suggest?
"The Handbook of Conundrums" by Edith B. Ordway
Fashion, sir, is coquettish as woman or weathercock, 'tis for ever a-veering, already there is a new button-hole.
"Our Admirable Betty" by Jeffery Farnol
Spires end usually in a boss or finial, surmounted by a weathercock.
"Architecture" by Thomas Roger Smith
The weathercock sticks at the north, and old Ben says there's not a chance of a change till the new moon.
"Beatrice Boville and Other Stories" by Ouida
Of the gilt weathercock itself nothing remained save the butt.
"Deep Moat Grange" by S. R. Crockett

In poetry:

When the sun is tipping
Every stony block,
And the sun is slipping
Down the weathercock.
"Quiet Dead!" by George MacDonald
Deer-Island's rocks and fir-trees threw
Their sunset-shadows o'er them,
And Newbury's spire and weathercock
Peered o'er the pines before them.
"The Exiles. 1660" by John Greenleaf Whittier
O weathercock on the village spire,
With your golden feathers all on fire,
Tell me, what can you see from your perch
Above there over the tower of the church?
"Ultima Thule: Maiden And The Weathercock" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
If I change with all the winds that blow,
It is only because they made me so,
And people would think it wondrous strange,
If I, a Weathercock, should not change.
"Ultima Thule: Maiden And The Weathercock" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I can see the roofs and the streets below,
And the people moving to and fro,
And beyond, without either roof or street,
The great salt sea, and the fisherman's fleet.
"Ultima Thule: Maiden And The Weathercock" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
But why I call back man and house again
Is there now a beech-tree's tip I see
As then I saw - I at the gate, and he
In the house darkness, - magpie veering about,
A magpie like a weathercock in doubt.
"House and Man" by Edward Thomas