An innocent word, is it not? Not for the people of the Isle of Portland, in Dorset, for whom it is taboo, as they think that uttering it will give them bad luck. The Weymouth and Portland website tells us why: "The fear of rabbits is based on the fact that quarry men would often see rabbits emerging from their barrows immediately before a rock fall. Such rock falls often injured and even killed quarry workers; therefore, it is understandable why rabbits became associated with bad luck."

By | 2016-10-18T15:50:45+00:00 October 7th, 2005|Words|2 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Taupe October 7, 2005 at 11:22 pm

    I like that story. Fear of rabbits! Honestly…
    I wonder how the rabbits knew the rocks were going to fall? They must have premonitions.

  2. Anthony Hope October 9, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    Which raises the question, what’s the word for fear of rabbits? I couldn’t find it in the dictionary, but although my ancient Greek is non-existent, after some amateur word-forging (with a little help from Google), I think I might have come up with one: “kuniklophobia”. It has a certain ring.
    As for how the Portland rabbits knew about the rockfalls, it was nothing to do with premonitions. (There’s only ever been one recorded instance of a prognosticating rabbit, and Mr Adams hasn’t yet revealed his sources.) I think the real answer’s obvious — their mates were up the hill doing some pushing.

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