Monday, February 05, 2007

The Daily Hump: Reindeer

Loyal WH readers undoubtedly noticed there was no post on Friday. This is because I was spending a relaxing vacation up in southern Vermont where the gf and I made a brief excursion to visit some reindeer. Apparently unbeknownst to some people, reindeer are not fictional animals--they're quite real--and quite adorable as this video demonstrates.
The question is, of course, what does rein- mean? The word reindeer is from the Old Norse hreindyri where dyr means "animal" and hreinn refers to the type of animal. Per the Online Etymology Dictionary, this first element is from the Proto-Germanic *khrainaz and not rennen (to run) as folk etymology often associates it. The Online Etymology Dictionary doesn't define *khrainaz specifically, however it does point to similarities with the Old English hran, meaning "reindeer", and the German renn. As well, it suggests a cognate with the Greek krios, meaning "ram".

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:: posted by David, 9:09 AM


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