The phrase 'Tekeli-li' is alleged variously to be Hebrew, or to mean '(the) God is angry' in Maori. In The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, the albatross-like creature (which echoes back to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner) is pure and white, and forms a part of the (alleged) racialist subtext of the work. Lovecraft, on the other hand, writes a more focussed, chilling work, and uses the phrase and its originator as a sound from the earliest eras of Earth's history, in which the Elder Things/Old Ones and their hideous creations played a crucial role.

Gritchka informs me that there is no L in Maori, and that the expression for 'God is angry' would resemble the Samoan: 'O ita le atua'.