PHEASANT, the game bird Phasianus colchicus. The pheasant was known in Greek as Φασιανός and hence in mishnaic Hebrew as פַּסְיוֹנִי (pasyoni). It is not mentioned in the Bible, although pseudo-Jonathan identified it with the biblical שְׂלָו (selav; Ex. 16:13), which is, however, the quail . The pheasant was originally found in Asia, from the shores of the Caspian Sea to Manchuria and Japan. It was brought to Europe and America where, acclimatized in forests, it became a notable game bird. The Romans set great store upon its flesh, and it is told that when the emperor Hadrian doubted whether there were also pheasants in Ereẓ Israel, R. Joshua b. Hananiah produced some to prove to him "that Ereẓ Israel lacks nothing" (Eccles. R. 2:8, no. 2). Whether these particular pheasants existed in a wild state in the country or were bred cannot be determined, although from other sources it is evident that they were bred together with peacocks (Tosef., Kil 1:8), this having been a sign of wealth (Eccles. R. 7:8). The pheasant is listed in the Midrash among those rare delicacies, the taste of which the manna could acquire should a person yearn for it (Num. R. 7:4). In connection with the command to honor one's father, it was said: "One may give his father pheasants as food, yet this drives him from the world, while another may make him grind in the mill, and this brings him to the world to come" (Kid. 31a). In several communities in   Europe the Jews ate the pheasant, which has the characteristics of a kasher bird. An attempt was made in recent years to breed it in Israel, but the rabbinate cast doubt on its kashrut for lack of local tradition to that effect (see dietary laws ). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewysohn, Zool, 213f.; Feliks, in: Teva va-Areẓ, 8 (1965/66), 326–32. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Pheasant — Pheas ant, n. [OE. fesant, fesaunt, OF. faisant, faisan, F. faisan, L. phasianus, Gr. ? (sc. ?) the Phasian bird, pheasant, fr. ? a river in Colchis or Pontus.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of large gallinaceous birds of the genus… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pheasant — [fez′ənt] n. pl. pheasants or pheasant [ME fesant < Anglo Fr < OFr faisan < L phasianus < Gr phasianos, after Phasis, river of Colchis: the birds are said to have been numerous near its mouth] 1. any of a number of large gallinaceous… …   English World dictionary

  • pheasant — late 13c., from Anglo Fr. fesaunt, O.Fr. faisan (13c.), from L. phasianus, from Gk. phasianos a pheasant, lit. Phasian bird, from Phasis, river flowing into the Black Sea in Colchis, where the birds were said to have been numerous. The ph was… …   Etymology dictionary

  • pheasant — ► NOUN ▪ a large long tailed game bird, the male of which typically has showy plumage. ORIGIN Greek phasianos bird of Phasis , a river in the Caucasus from which the bird is said to have spread westwards …   English terms dictionary

  • Pheasant — For other uses, see Pheasant (disambiguation). Phasianinae Mongolian Ringneck type Common Pheasant cock Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • pheasant — /fez euhnt/, n. 1. any of numerous large, usually long tailed, Old World gallinaceous birds of the family Phasianidae, widely introduced. 2. any of various other birds that resemble or suggest a pheasant. 3. Southern U.S. the ruffed grouse. [1250 …   Universalium

  • pheasant — [[t]fe̱z(ə)nt[/t]] pheasants N COUNT (pheasant can also be used as the plural form.) A pheasant is a bird with a long tail. Pheasants are often shot as a sport and then eaten. N UNCOUNT Pheasant is the flesh of this bird eaten as food. ...roast… …   English dictionary

  • pheasant — UK [ˈfez(ə)nt] / US [ˈfezənt] noun Word forms pheasant : singular pheasant plural pheasant or pheasants a) [countable] a large bird with a long tail that is hunted for sport and food b) [uncountable] the meat from a pheasant …   English dictionary

  • pheasant — noun (plural pheasant or pheasants) Etymology: Middle English fesaunt, from Anglo French fesant, faisan, from Latin phasianus, from Greek (ornis) phasianos, from phasianos of the Phasis River, from Phasis, river in Colchis Date: 13th century 1.… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Pheasant — This interesting surname, of English origin, is a nickname for someone bearing a fancied resemblance to the bird, deriving from the Middle English fesaunt meaning pheasant . The surname dates back to the mid 12th Century (see below). Further… …   Surnames reference

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