or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One More Bite

Yeah, I'm still here. Sometimes you just don't have any inspiration, y'know? Especially in the summertime.

One thing I meant to mention last time around, since I was talking about the words "bit" and "bitter", was the word "bittern", which is a kind of marsh bird, a species of heron. If only it had been a seabird! Then we could conjecture that its name came from "bitter" and "tern". But it isn't.

"Bittern" has the most ridiculous parentage, and I don't think I can do any better than to quote Dictionary.com wholesale:

[Origin: 1510–20; bitter, bittor bittern + -n (perh. by assoc. with heron), ME bito(u)r, butur, boto(u)r < AF bytore, AF, OF butor < VL *būtitaurus, equiv. to *būti-, perh. to be identified with L būteō a species of hawk (see buteo) + L taurus bull (cited by Pliny as a name for a bird emitting a bellowing sound)]

A heron named after a species of hawk and a bull into the bargain!


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