from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A stoneware jug of a pattern originated in the neighborhood of Cologne, Germany, in the 16th century. It has a bearded face or mask supposed to represent Cardinal Bellarmine, a leader in the Roman Catholic Counter Reformation, following the Reformation; -- called also graybeard, longbeard.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A large stoneware jug with a capacious belly and narrow neck, decorated with the face of a bearded man, originally designed as a caricature of Cardinal Bellarmin, who made himself obnoxious to the Protestant party in the Netherlands as an opponent of the Reformation, in the end of the sixteenth century and the early part of the seventeenth.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a stoneware drinking jug with a long neck; decorated with a caricature of Cardinal Bellarmine (17th century)
- n. Italian cardinal and theologian (1542-1621)
Sorry, no etymologies found.
One particular transitional bottle, worth noting, dates to the last quarter of the 17th century and is a bellarmine with horseshoe-like impression in place of the usual bearded face.
(See "Opening a Witch Bottle" for an example of a bellarmine.)
When they are found today, they are almost always broken or empty, but in Greenwich in 2004, workers found a rare, unopened example, a stoneware bellarmine jar.