black bull-muzzle

enkidu68

Senior Member
turkish
Hi folks, this is cited from Wellingborough Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)
Context: Redburn comes to a place guarded with man traps.
Question: Does word black modify its nose or only that bull-muzzle?

And who was Blucher? A cut-throat looking dog, with his black bull-muzzle thrust through a gap in the hedge. And his master? A sturdy
farmer, with an alarming cudgel in his hand.
 
  • reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    The bull-muzzle is black. There is no indication or suggestion or inference that the dog's nose is black.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I would assume that it did refer to the dog - that "muzzle" had meaning 1, rather than meaning 3:
    WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
    muz•zle /ˈmʌzəl/ n., v., -zled, -zling.
    n. [countable]​
    1. Zoology the part of the head of an animal that comprises the jaws, mouth, and nose.
    2. [...]
    3. a device, usually an arrangement of straps or wires, placed over an animal's mouth to prevent the animal from biting, etc.
    I assume the "bull-" in "bull-muzzle" means bull-like.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    There's a clue in the previous sentence:
    "Tramp, or I'll set Blucher on ye!"​
    There would be no point to the farmer's threat if the dog was wearing a muzzle.:cool:
     

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    There's a clue in the previous sentence: "Tramp, or I'll set Blucher on ye!"
    There would be no point to the farmer's threat if the dog was wearing a muzzle.
    :cool:
    Yes, Loob is correct but that's because she obtained additional vital information that the OP did not provide.
    If we keep adding information or changing the goal posts with every posting during a thread, then every early postings, like mine above, are of little significance.

    Based on the original information given, my answer to the original question remains valid. Based on later information, my answer would change.

    That's why it's essential to provide complete and relevant context from the very start of a thread.
     
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