Paddock [Second Witch in the tragedy of Macbeth]

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New Member
Hello,nice to be in this Forum.
I would like to know the sense of the name 'Paddock', used by the Second Witch in the tragedy of Macbeth(Act I,1).
I have tried to search the Net and I found that is a synonymous of toad, but I'm not satisfied.
I ask you a short specific explaination about this word, maybe an etymological one.
Thank you very much.
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    For most of us, the only time we've ever seen 'paddock' meaning "frog, toad" is in the notes to that line in Macbeth. It's not used that way in Standard English. However, it (or 'puddock' and other variants) is apparently still a common word in Scotland and the North of England. 'Paddock' comes from an older 'pad', also meaning "toad" and also occurring in Nordic languages with that meaning, according to the OED.

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Welcome to the forum.

    It was alleged (by Christians) that witches had 'familiars', pet animals with magical powers with whom they were, er, familiar... ;). No witch I've met aver did this, though a few have had pet cats. If memory serves me, Paddock was the name of Witch 2's pet toad.

    Shakespeare used contemporary sources including James I's own work for his information about witchcraft.


    New Member
    Great happiness!
    I'm reading It,so I could ask about something more.
    Probably I should open a specific thread in that case.
    Thanks, again.:thumbsup:


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Yes, a question about a new subject needs a new thread. Meanwhile, let me introduce you to a very useful website:

    In addition to "Paddock" from Macbeth they quote the following from Hamlet III iv 188, where Hamlet is telling his mother not to reveal:

    That I essentially am not in madness,
    But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know.
    For who that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
    Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
    Such dear concernings hide?

    gib (n.)
    paddock, padock (n.) toad


    New Member
    It is strikingly useful, my thanks cannot be enough.
    It's a shame that I'm lacking in a good English Monolingual Dictionary,
    I'm so interested in etymological roots of words.
    I would like to deepen this very expressive language,
    also because I've other valued authors, such as R.W. Emerson
    and the romantic poets.
    Great happiness! :thumbsup:
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