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I've heard a few ways of describing such a fantastical beast, but I don't know which is correct.

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They are known as both Alicorns (Ali supposedly from ala (wing) and Corn meaning horn), as well as Pegi(a)corn, a portmanteau of Pegasus and Unicorn (I've seen both an i and an a used).

which of these is most 'correct' and did one come first? Furthermore wikipedia says that


The horn itself [of the unicorn] and the substance it was made of was called alicorn, and it was believed that the horn holds magical and medicinal properties

So that would make my supposed etymology above wrong.

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I asked this on but it was power closed in 10 minutes as 'too localized'. – AncientSwordRage Apr 27 '12 at 16:14
MLP call Princess Celestia a Pegasus unicorn. – DavRob60 Apr 27 '12 at 16:33
@DavRob: There's some argument over whether they're called alicorns or not, see the note attached to that classification. – RCIX Apr 28 '12 at 1:33
May I suggest "chimera'? – Beta Apr 29 '12 at 5:14
@Pureferret: Classically it's one of these. More generally it's a monster made of pieces of different animals; the winged unicorn (or whatever) is a recently invented union of two ancient mythological monsters (from different cultures, both already chimerae, so maybe I should call it a metachimera). – Beta Apr 29 '12 at 14:21
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Alicorn is the most common word used to describe said beast, however, in the Xanth series, there are also PegaCorns and UniPegs. All three creatures look exactly the same in the series, which is a subtle joke, and the only way to tell them apart is to ask them.

This lists references citations where Alicorn is used to denote a winged unicorn. I can find no such list for any other word that could mean the same thing. Note that the first use of the word according to that is by Piers Anthony, the author of the Xanth series I note above. He may have have coined the use of Alicorn as a flying unicorn in 1984, in his book "Bearing an Hourglass", but there are sources from earlier than that which imply that he di not, see below. I'm going to research this further, as I distinctly remember reading about Alicorns in another of Anthony;s books, one of the Xanth books as I note above, prior to reading the series that contains "Bearing an Hourglass". When I find the canonical reference I will edit this and include the title and page number of the first place I see it in the Xanth series as well.

This text, from 1930, clearly lists an Alicorn as a seperate creature from a Unicorn, along with a Monocerous and a Rhinocerous, and suggests that all four beasts horns have magical properties.

Here is another text with the use of an Alicorn as it's own beast as well, although not descriptive, it says that an Alicorn has a curved horn, and it's from 1930.

Interestingly enough, as an aside, here is a text that cites Alicorn as being a real substance, most likely being the horns of Narwhals that were found and attributed to having belonged to a Unicorn. Here is a story in which the plot revolves around Unicorns being chased by the antagonist into the ocean, perhaps the author is suggesting that's what happened to Unicorns in reality.

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So we've migrated the question and the answer to a better SE? – AncientSwordRage Apr 27 '12 at 16:18
English seems to be a Very Serious Site. They probably don't like to acknowledge that there are words for non-existent creatures. :P – Gabe Willard Apr 27 '12 at 16:53
By the way, can you substaniate you commend about alicorns being the most common name? – AncientSwordRage Apr 27 '12 at 18:46
+1 because anything Xanth is awesome in my opinion. – OghmaOsiris Apr 28 '12 at 0:00
Good answer, though +1 in spite of Xanth. Also, my Niece says that "Alicorns" is proper, so you might want to cite that. – peacedog May 2 '12 at 17:40

The pictures in fantasy art of "winged unicorns" do not depict the winged unicorn used in heraldry (a heraldic "ronaldus"), but rather a horse with wings (a heradic "pegasus") with a horn in the forehead. In heraldry, a unicorn is not a horse, but rather a chimaera with the body of a horse, a goat's cloven hooves and beard, a lion's tail, and a horn. The "ronaldus" is rare in heraldry outside of western Scotland. Heraldically, a typical teenage girl's wall-poster features a horned pegasus, not a ronaldus.

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According to MLP,(My Little Pony) they are known as alicorns. They do have wings and a horn. All of the alicorns in the series are known to be royal. Alicorns in MLP are special because they are all princesses.

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Even if the content in your answer is technically correct, you are not adding anything new to what the question already said. Even the term "alicorn" was part of the question's content. – Kreann Nov 23 '14 at 2:17

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