WOW #71

Look at that bunch of cows.
Not bunch, herd.
Heard what?
Herd of cows.
Sure I’ve heard of cows.
No, I mean a cow herd.
What do I care what a cow heard?  I got no secrets from a cow!

Now that I’ve milked that pun for a few laughs, let’s consider this week’s word.

RANGALE

When referring to deer, herd seems a bit numerous, as does the word bunch.  While they can leap, they can’t fly, so they’re not a flock.  A small group of specifically Whitetail deer are a bevy, while a group of any kind of deer is properly known as a rangale.  Crows would murder for a cumulative title like that.

The term began with an old word that became range, in modern English.  It grew up in French as the word rengaille, which came to be known as the dregs of an army.  When the military had fought a battle, or won a war, and were drifting home, or back to base, in small, rag-tag, non-uniform-sized, unsupervised clots of clods, the small groups were rangales.

When William the Conqueror graciously visited the Enchanted Island, the term came to be applied to similar small groups of deer.  When we have journeyed into the United States on vacation trips, occasionally we have seen deer feeding beside the road, usually at dusk.  Actually, it happens more often to the wife than me.  Screaming down I-95 at 75MPH, trying to keep ahead of some semi that seems to want to park in my trunk, is not the time to go, “Oh, look at Bambi and his mom.”

If COVID dies before I do. I have hopes for more trips, and more deer-sightings.  If I am lucky, and successful at both, now I know what to call them.  Other than Rivergirl, who seems to live on a migration pathway, how many of you have been fortunate enough to see a group of deer in the wild?  😕

WOW #22

Dictionary

This week’s Word Of the Week is….

CERVINE

As with so many other things, I found it when I was looking for something else. I have no smart comments to make about it.  I can’t even think of a way to relate it to my life, to give you some kind of cute little story about it.

The English adjective cervine comes directly from Latin cervτnus “pertaining to a deer” ( cervus). Latin cervus means “stag, deer” and derives from a complicated Proto-Indo-European root ker- (with many variants) “uppermost part (of the body), head, horn.” The same root yields Latin cornū “horn” (as in unicorn and in corn in the sense “thickening and hardening of the skin on a toe”), cervτx “neck,” and cornea (horny coating or tissue). In Germanic the root appears as her-, source of English horn, hart (the animal), and hornet. Cervine entered English in the 19th century.

Just about every animal has a similar word to describe it. Most are easy to identify if you know the Latin base.  Bovine = cow-like, ovine is sheep-like, equine is horses, canine and feline are cats and dogs, aquiline soars like an eagle, ursine refers to bears, lupine is wolves, leonine is lions, although saturnine means gloomy or taciturn, and refers to the dour astrological influence of the planet Saturn.  The dictionary does not mention Grumpy Old Dude – Archon.  Vulpine refers to foxes,  and is the basis for the European surname ‘Volpe’.  We have a “Don Volpe Interiors”, locally.

Porcine refers to pigs. I once watched a C-grade movie.  Essentially it was The A-Team Invades Cuba.  Soon after our heroic lads came ashore, they required local assistance.  It quickly came in the form of a Rubenesque young female with a low neckline, short skirt, and high heels in a dirt-road village.

The squad leader thanked her, and asked her name. When she said that it was ‘Porcina Perez,’ I fell off the couch.

I don’t imagine that I’ll use this word much. I have very little need to describe things (animals) which are deer-like.  The reason that I included it is because of all the English-language words and concepts that it engenders.  Heads and horns and hornets and corns and cornets and cervix and hart and cornea and unicorns, oh my.  It’s like this one word supports half the dictionary.

Please join me again, later this week, when I rant off at a completely different vector.  😀

Flash Fiction #102

Lamb

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

BE A LAMB

I can hardly wait to try that new restaurant, Shear Heaven, the one that specializes in lamb. I love lamb, lamb chops, lamb cutlets, lamb stew.  I’m confused though; why would the country’s greatest vegan chef open a lamb restaurant?

It’s called aversion therapy.

What??!

Have you ever been to a seafood restaurant where they let you pick your own lobster? It’s the same here.  If you can look at little Bambi….

Bambi was a deer.

Fine! If you can look at little Baa-baa, and still say, “I want that leg of lamb….??”  Everybody ends up ordering curried chick peas.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.