Fragment 510116




Original French:  Nenuphar

Modern French:  Nenuphar

“…than the nenuphar and Nymphaea heraclia to ribald monks…”

Among the examples of pairings whose antipathies are not as vehement as the hatred thieves have of a certain usage of Pantagruelion.




Schöffer, Peter (ca. 1425–ca. 1502.), [R]ogatu plurimo[rum] inopu[m] num[m]o[rum] egentiu[m] appotecas refuta[n]tiu[m] occasione illa, q[uia] necessaria ibide[m] ad corp[us] egru[m] specta[n]tia su[n]t cara simplicia et composita. Mainz: 1484. Plate 98. Botanicus

Nuphar lutea

Nuphar lutea
Nuphar lutea (L.) Sm.
cow lily, great yellow pondlily

Merian, Matthäus (1593–1650), Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft. 1646. t. 212.


Nenuphar: Nenuphar; the Water Lillie, or water Rose.

Cotgrave, Randle (–1634?), A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongue. London: Adam Islip, 1611. PBM

nenufar et nymphea heraclia

C’est le jaune-d’eau, autrement appellé lis d’étang. Il est très spécialement ordonné aux moines contre les tentations de la chair. Voyez Bouchet, sérée XXIV. (L.) — On l’apelle volet en Sologne; et on y est encore persuadé que l’eau de volet est in spécifique contre la concupiscence, et qu’on en faisoit boire au moines.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Œuvres de Rabelais (Edition Variorum). Tome Cinquième. Charles Esmangart (1736–1793), editor. Paris: Chez Dalibon, 1823. p. 273. Google Books

water-lily, etc.

Cf. iii 31. Pliny xxv. 7, § 37; xxvi 10, § 61.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), The Five Books and Minor Writings. Volume 1: Books I-III. William Francis Smith (1842–1919), translator. London: Alexader P. Watt, 1893. Internet Archive


Venerem in totum adimit, ut diximus, nymphaea Heraclia, eadem semel pota in XL dies, insomnia quoque veneris a ieiuno pota et in cibo sumpta. inlita quoque radix genitalibus inhibet non solum venerem sed et affluentiam geniturae. ob id corpus alere vocemque dicitur. adpetentiam veneris facit radix e xiphio superior data potui1 in vino, item quam cremnon agrion appellant, ormenos agrios cum polenta contritus.

Nymphaea heraclia, as I have said, takes away altogether sexual desire; a single draught of it does so for forty days; sexual dreams too are prevented if it is taken in drink on an empty stomach and eaten with food. Applied to the genitals the root also checks not only desire but also excessive accumulation of semen. For this reason it is said to make flesh and to improve the voice. Sexual desire is excited by the upper part of xiphium root given in wine as a draught; also by the plant called cremnos agrios and by ormenos agrios crushed with pearl barley.

Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), The Natural History. Volume 7: Books 24–27. William Henry Samuel Jones (1876–1963), translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1956. 26.61. Loeb Classical Library


Nénufar, mot bas-latin qui dès le début du XVIe siècle tend à se substituer à nymphæa.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Oeuvres. Édition critique. Tome Cinquieme: Tiers Livre. Abel Lefranc (1863-1952), editor. Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion, 1931. p. 350. Internet Archive


Encore une fois, la plupart de ces exemples se retrouvent dans le De latinis nominibus de Charles Estienne. Le nenufar et la semence de saule sont des antiaphrodisiaques. La ferula servait, dans l’Antiquité, à fustiger les écoliers (cf. Martial, X, 62-10).

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Le Tiers Livre. Edition critique. Michael A. Screech (b. 1926), editor. Paris-Genève: Librarie Droz, 1964.


Allusion à la vertu antiaphrodisiaque de la racine de nénuphar.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Œuvres complètes. Mireille Huchon, editor. Paris: Gallimard, 1994. p. 505, n. 21.


nenuphar. [adopted from medieval Latin nenuphar, adaptation of Arabic-Persian ninufar, Persian, also nilufal, adaptation of Sanskrit nilôtpala blue lotus, formed on nil blue + utpala lotus, water-lily.]

A water-lily, esp. the common white or yellow species. In early use freq. in oil, syrup, water of nenuphar.

1533 1533 Sir Thomas Elyot The castel of helth (1534) 76 Syrope of violettes, nemipher, or the wine of sweet pomegranates.

1563 T. Gale Antidotarie i. viii. 5 Among compoundes these are in vse, butter, oile of roses, Violettes, Nenuphar, Popye.

1621 Burton Anatomy of Melancholy ii. v. i. vi. (1651) 397 To refrigerate the face, by washing it often with Rose, Violet, Nenuphar, Lettuce, Lovage waters and the like.

1612 Peacham Gentl. Exerc. iii. 162 Of Flowers you haue Roses, Gilliflowers, Violets, Nenuphar, Lilly.



Posted 26 January 2013. Modified 10 June 2017.

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  1. Pingback: Nenuphar from the madding crowd | Xenomanes, Panurge, and Pantagruel's Quest

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