I only just found out that "manger" isn't a synonym for crib, but a trough for feeding animals

As I bet 99.9 percent of you has always known, in the Christian birth of Jesus story, Baby J was put in animal food trough out of necessity, since Mom and “Pop” couldn’t get a room and had to stay in a stable.

It was only like a year ago (and I’m in my 40s) that I learned the correct definition word “manger”. Until then, I thought it was a primitive crib or something. I guess every time I heard the story in church as a kid it was assumed I knew what the word meant and it was never explained to me. I never thought it odd that Mary and Joseph would have a crib in a stable, although I would have speculated they brought it with them or rigged one up.

It’s right in the first line of the song.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed.

I’m guessing that you were a city kid and never had any first-hand experience with farm animals.

City kid here. I knew, and assumed ‘manger’ came from mangier, ‘to eat’.

While that’s obviously a good clue, I could see how the OP might make his mistake. I could rewrite the song “Away in a bassinet, no crib for a bed” and have something that’s still grammatically correct, where we’re now making a distinction about the different kinds of things a baby might sleep in.

On the other hand, here’s a good :smack: for the OP. :slight_smile:

Dog in the manger?

Not sure why that picture goes with that caption particularly, but yeah, as a city kid I also might have been confused about this, except that as a non-Christian I encountered the word “manger” in Aesop’s Fables (the story of The Dog In The Manger) before or at the same time as learning it in the lyrics to some Christmas song or other.

I also thought the lyrics were “Round [the] young virgin, mother and child”, and pictured three people (a virgin, mother and child) after looking up what a “virgin” was in the dictionary, until I later learned the theology of the virgin birth.

My “city kid” moment was when working as a programmer for a military contractor after graduating from college (age 21) and being assigned to work on a helicopter flight planning software module for the Air Force. Specifically, a “moonshadowing” module to account for what parts of the terrain would be under cover of darkness based on a clear night with a calculated phase and elevation of the moon for that part of the world and the time of flight.

I expressed surprise that the moon would be bright enough to cast a shadow significant enough to hide in, and everyone else there (people from Texas and Tennessee) looked at me funny. “You’ve never been out at night when the moon’s up? You’ve never seen the moonlight?” “Sure I have, but it’s not much of a factor on the ground. I mean, the street lights just flood it out.”

Cue the jokes of the value of an Ivy League Education vis-a-vis the Real World.

When I was little, I thought a “manger” was another word for a “stable.” Mainly because the bible says Mary and Joseph “laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn.” So I figured the manger was shelter, like the inn would have been. I grew up in the suburbs and had no experience with mangers or stables.

I think I learned the correct meaning before adulthood, though.

And now (as I’m sure you’re aware) “to eat” in French is “manger” anyway.

That’s a good one.

A second-hand version - my family has a cabin in northern Quebec, and the first time my wife went up there was the first time she had ever seen the Milky Way. Until then, she had always assumed it was something you could only see from space!

That one’s probably a lot more understandable though - you have to go pretty remote to see the milky way not drowned out with light pollution.

I was in a Mexican restaurant with extended family and had just been introduced to a cousin’s new girlfriend (a 30-something year old woman) when she asked “I wonder how you say ‘tequila’ in Spanish?”

Je ne parle pas français. :frowning:

(But I thought the word didn’t have an ‘i’ in it.)

Me too. I had a (Disney?) record of a then-well-known character actor (red hair, raspy voice) reading the stories. The actor, IIRC, was wearing a toga on the album cover.

Actually, with the Christ Child lying there the traditional scene is more accurately

God in the Manger

I’ve actually worked on farms and I’ve never heard anyone refer to a manger. The thing animals ate out of was a feed trough.

I realized a manger wasn’t a crib but I thought it was an archaic word for a stable or a stall.

Fortunately the animals in the stable were herbivores, and the first eucharist was delayed for 34 years.

Ditto. I think I was in high school before I realized my mistake.

You’d never seen a Nativity? Maybe the ones over there are different, but the ones I’m used to always have the child in something that’s the wrong shape for a crib (it tends to be shorter than an actual manger, although the shape is right).

so you thought people kept cribs in their stables because…?

answer: It’s for their kids (goats)

Obligatory The Godfather, Part II reference.

It’s not unusual to have a nativity scene described as [the various figures] “in” a manger.