C Is For Creance

When my wife Tamara was reading H Is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald, the story of the author’s life with a goshawk, she asked me whether I knew the meaning of the word, creance, which she had read about in the book.

I didn’t but I guessed that it might mean the act of behaving well. I guessed it from miscreant, which is the name of course for someone who does wrong.

Tamara told me that a creance is the long piece of cord that a trainer uses to maintain control of a hawk in training.

It got me thinking that there may be a connection with miscreant, so I looked up the etymology of the word.

And it turns out that a micreant is not only a wrongdoer but also someone who lacks faith.

And creance, which originated in the late 15th century comes from the French word créance which mean ‘faith’ – and describes the cord used to retain a bird of peu de créance – of little faith – a bird which cannot yet be relied upon to return to its handler.