Search: harlequin origin
Why: In FishVille (I play multiple Facebook games, why don't you go cry about it), Richard sent me a Harlequin Turkfish:
Other Harlequins I can think of include porny novels for ladies, that jester thing, Harley Quinn from Batman - who, let's face it, is the same thing:
kid, who he also named Harley Quinn because he is a tremendous nerd.
Answer: WELL. It's terrifying (if this is right):
- Danish ellerkonge or elverkonge, the malevolent "King of the Elves" was mistranslated to
- German Erlkönig, Erlenkönig, "alder king" became
- Erkling - who, by the way, appears in the Harry Potter video games - became
- Herla Cyning, "Herla the King" (aka Norse Woden), the demonic leader of the Wild Hunt, which involved demons riding ghost horses in the dead of night and attacking peasants or dragging them from sleep down to the land of the dead, YIPE! to
- Old French Herlequin (or "Hellequin"), a stock character in French The Passion plays, to
- Italian Harlequin in commedia dell'arte, the improvisational stage comedies popular in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries
Today, the word "harlequin" generally refers to a pattern of brightly-colored diamond shapes, most often seen in the costumes.
The More You Know: Do yourself a favor and don't ever do a Google Image search of the word "harlequin." Remember that disgusting little tomato-eyed baby you accidentally saw once on the Internet? It had a skin disease called harlequin type ichthyosis, characterized by a thickening of the keratin layer in fetal skin, huge diamond-shaped scales, and horribly contracted eyes, lips, ears, etc. Yech. Poor, poor disgusting babies.