Art. IX.—A Philological Study in Natural History.
[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 21st October, 1901.]
Primitive man was a hunter of the beasts and birds. In Europe the climatic conditions were arctic; snow and ice extended from the far north even to the centre of France and Germany. Notwithstanding the rigours of the climate, various animals suitable to these conditions of life inhabited the outer margin of this great snow-cap. Man (as we see in the Esquimaux of the present time) was there also as a hunter of wild beasts, and as time went on he became herdsman and utilised the reindeer, as Lapps do even now. From certain osteological evidence as examined by scientists we know this to have been the case. To myself it seems also proved by philological deductions in the German language.
When the Roman general, Julius Cæsar, led his conquering armies through Gaul—a name which he gives to France and part of Germany—he noticed several strange animals in that country of which he had no previous knowledge, and which he mentions in his history of his battles and conquests. One animal he names reno, or rehno, which I consider to mean the reindeer, from comparing it with French renne and German renn-thier (a reindeer), also with German renn-pferd, a race-horse, renn-hirsch, a reindeer (literally, running- or race-stag, from rennen, to run); and renn-schlitten, a sledge, also abbreviated to schlitten, a sledge, is a suitable name for the vehicle to which the animal renn-thier was harnessed and utilised as a draught animal by his owner. The suffix or additional word thier in renn-thier is equivalent to beast or animal, which makes the whole word mean “run-beast” or “race-beast,” and I see no cause for the special term runner, or racer, otherwise than as referring to the speed of the animal when driven in a sledge. The word thier, an animal, is the Teutonic form of our English word deer, which we use now as a general term for the Cervidœ, or stags, as in fallow deer or red deer. The word fallow is from Anglo-Saxon fealu, fealo, a pale-red colour; therefore we get the “pale-red beast” and the “darker-red beast” as the plain meaning of the two names. As to whether the German rind, cattle, rinder-pest (rin-thier-pest), cattle disease, is connected with rennen, to run, I find no evidence, it being a word coined at a later date.
When the climate of Europe became more ameliorated or
temperate other species of deer occupied the land, coming possibly from the east and south. Julius Cæsar mentions an animal of Gaul under the name of alces (which is kindred to Russian olene, a stag; German elch, an elk or moose; French elan, an elk), probably a large stag or red deer. The Dutch colonists in South Africa name the largest of the antelopes eland.
Our English word wild—or, rather, its original form - is in German used to denote game (animals or birds which may be hunted), and occasionally is used in place of our word deer, as roth-wild, roth-hirsch, the stag or red deer (roth meaning red), roth-huhn (literally, red hen), the red-legged partridge; schwarzes-wild (black game), the wild boar; wild-kalb (literally, wild calf), a fawn or young deer; wild-huhn, a ptarmigan; wild-sprossen, antlers; wild-stand, a covert or game preserve; wild-hirt, a gamekeeper; wild-bann, right of hunting; wild-e, open moorland or uncultivated land, from which we derive English wild-er-ness. Another connection is reh-wild, a deer; reh-bock, the roebuck; reh-geiss, the doe or female of the roebuck. The terminal word geiss is a female goat, and geiss-bock is a buck goat, also a roebuck. Reh-fleck is a purple spot; reh-fleisch, venison; hirsch-reh, musk deer. In French chevreuil is a roebuck; chevrette, a roe or doe; chevre, a female goat. An assumed likeness in this animal to the goat is evident from its naming. Professor Skeat gives roe as a female deer; mid-English, ro; Anglo-Saxon, ráh; Icelandic, rá, &c.; derivative, roe-buck. An allied word is English doe, a female deer, and doe-rabbit, or hare. The German dam-wild and dam-thier look rather naughty words, but they are the neuter form for the fallow deer; dam-bock and dam-hirsch are the male, and dam-geiss or dam-kuh the female animals. This seems akin to Latin dam-a, a deer; French daim, a fallow-deer buck, daine, a doe. The English word fallow comes through Anglo-Saxon fealu, fealo, pale-red or yellow in colour. In French fauve is fawn-coloured or tawny: thus, běte-fauve and also fauve is fallow deer, which is equivalent to tawny - coloured beast. The English word deer is connected with Anglo - Saxon deór, a wild animal; Dutch, dier; Danish, dyr; Swedish, djur; Icelandic, dyr; Gothic, dius; German, thier; Latin, fer-a; Greek, ther and pher, a wild beast. German thier will not specially refer to wild animals, but rather to any animal, beast, or brute; in sporting, to doe. The following are examples: Thier-arzt, veterinary surgeon; thier-garten, zoological garden, or a park; thier-kreis, the zodiac (literally, the animal circle); thier-kalb, a fawn; haus-thiere (in the plural), domesticated animals (literally, house-animals, or animals kept in the vicinity of the house); jung-thier, a fawn (literally, young beast).
The Greek word θνρ (thēr), in an equal manner to the German wild, indicates specially hunting and the killing of feral animals, as thera, hunting, the animal hunted and caught; therao, to hunt; therates, a hunter or pursuer; therion, a wild beast; theriodes, savage, fierce. This word also, with varying suffixes, refers to the gladiatorial encounters with wild beasts within the enclosed area of the amphitheatre. English hind, the female of the stag, I would suppose to refer to the habit of the females composing the harem of the stag in following the lead of their lord and master—that is, in the meaning of hinder ones—Anglo-Saxon, hind; Dutch, hinde.
It is noticeable that to define the sex of many of these wild animals the term buck is used for the males, and kuh, cow, kalb, calf, is used, especially in the German or Teutonic, to define the female and her young; but we do not find any word equivalent to bull (German stier) to mean the male of any of the animals mentioned. At a later date, however, in America the male moose is called the bull and his consort the cow, yet they are of the order Cervidœ, and carry solid branching antlers, which are annually cast. The Germans have renn-thier-kuh, the female reindeer, but the use of kuh, a cow, could hardly originate in connection with a reindeer, for surely it must belong by right to the female of the ox. If so, the special definition of the sexes of the above animals must have remained in abeyance until after the knowledge of or the domestication of the ox. But, if so, why not also the use of an equivalent to bull to denote the males, as in the bull, cow, and calf of the whale and seal? If used to the walrus, we would have whale, horse, bull, &c., from ros, a horse. In place of bull we get buck or boc. Now, this name certainly is an original term for the male goat. In German geiss and zeigel both mean the female goat, to which is added the suffix bock, to mean the male; at the same time German bock is a male goat, and we find its variants is Anglo-Saxon bucca, Dutch bok, Icelandic bukkr, Danish buk, Welsh bwch, Gaelic boc, and even Sanskrit bukkr. And English butcher comes through mid-English bocher, French boucher, originally meaning “one who kills goats,” from old French boc (French, bouc), a he goat. These people, therefore, must have known and held in domestication the goat previous to the use of the word buck to denote the male of different species of Cervidœ, and, in fact, the use or equivalent of the German wild must have been greatly modified since first coined, unless we are to come to the conclusion that those people using it to mean feral animals had already several kinds of domestic or tame animals, and we might also say birds, meaning the specially tame bird Gallus domesticus (the cock and hen of our poultry-yards—hahn and henne of
the Germans; huhn, a fowl; connected by Skeat with Latin can-ere, to sing, from its noisy habits, or crowing).
To further point this: In English we have such names as moor-hen, water-hen, black-cock and his female the grey-hen; and we have brought this custom to New Zealand in calling Ocydromus the wood-hen. Again, in the name of one of the two ships of Tasman's expedition when he discovered New Zealand we get Zee-hahn, or sea-hen, a name of a kind of sea-bird; we have also named a large petrel cape-hen, mostly seen when a vessel is rounding Cape Horn. You will observe that we speak of a wood-hen or a cape-hen without consideration as to whether it is male or female—the comparison is simply between these birds and the domestic fowl of our childhood's knowledge. Notice, also, our term for the stormy petrel, one of the smallest (perhaps the smallest) of the birds of the ocean—“Mother Carey's chickens.” These little black-and-white birds are most persistent in following in the wake of sailing-vessels.
Here are several other German words, or names of wild fowl, which are compounds of the term huhn, the neuter form, of hahn, the masculine form, and of henne, the feminine form, of Gallus domesticus, our barn-yard fowl, which are extremely suggestive of the question as to whether these people owned the tame form of Gallus bankiva or whether the bird at some later time became known as the cock and hen par excellence, as the king and queen of all birds. German au and auer, a plain or meadow; auer-weit, extended as a plain, weit in composition meaning far or wide; auer-wild., the grouse, and so equal to moorland game; auer-hahn (male) and auer-henne (female) in my dictionary is given as both grouse and woodcock, which must be an error, for wald-schnepfe, or wood-snipe, is evidently the woodcock. A second meaning given is “the grouse,” but a scientific correspondent once wrote me that the capercailzie, or cock of the woods, was ur-hahn, now written auer-hahn, the former name being latinized in its generic title as Uro-gallus, the meaning being “the original cock, or cock of yore,” as if in contradistinction to Gallus domesticus. The German ur in compound words = primitive, primeval, original; ur-ahn, great-grandfather; therefore ur-huhn would be the first or original, or perhaps, rather, the fowl of that country to which the immigrants came. I would rather accept the form auer-hahn, or moorland cock, but was it not a bird of the forests? The name capercailzie is said to come through Gaelic capull-coille, great cock of the woods (literally, horse of the wood, from Gaelic capull, a horse, coille, coill, a wood).
Also in German we have wild-huhn, the ptarmigan, wild or game fowl; reb-huhn, the vine fowl, or partridge; birk-hahn,
the birch (tree) cock, the black cock; birk-henne, said to be the red-grouse, but must be the grey-hen, the female of the birds we name black-game; kurre, a turkey-hen; kurr-hahn, a turkey-cock. It may be of interest to make a guess how the English came to use the word turkey to designate this bird. I would say that the red head and curiously elongated caruncular tassel, also of scarlet hue, gave the fancied resemblance to a Turk and his scarlet fez, or cap. This bird, originating from North America, has no other connection with the Turk, except as supposing the use of the diminutive form Turk-ie, or little Turk. We also have wasser-huhn, the moor-fowl, and wasser-henne, the water-hen.
Following the word cock into the French language, we have coq, the male Gallus domesticus; coq-d'Inde, cock of India (i.e., American Indians), a turkey-cock; coq-de-bruyère, cock of the heather, the grouse; coq-a-queue-fourchue, the cock with the forked or branching tail, which is very descriptive of the black-cock, whose tail-feathers bend outward to either side somewhat in the form of two J's placed back to back: thus, ᒉᒕ The woodcock is coq-des-bois, or cock of the woods, and coq-de-combat is a game-cock, which in German is kamph-hahn. This latter is also the name of a small bird, the ruff, which is allied to the plover, and is sometimes kept in captivity on account of its great pugnacity towards others of its kind. The female, being without the neck-ruff, we name reeve. Kamph means “combat” or “conflict,” as kamph-hahn, battle-cock.
The French word coquerico means cock-a-doodle-do, and is on the same lines as coquette, a flirt; coqueliner, to crow, to run after the girls. In Sanskrit kukkuta is a cock, probably so called from the call of the bird. As the bird carries his voice to all countries, we may expect to find in most cases it is named therefrom, as, for instance, Malay kukuk, the crowing of cocks; kakak, the cackling of hens. In French the female bird is named poule and poule d'Inde, hen of India (North American Indians), the hen turkey. You will remember that the early voyagers, on reaching the coast of America, supposed they had reached India, hence the name of West Indies. The natives of America were thus misnamed Indians, and the term became so much in use that Captain Cook and others wrote of the aborigines of the islands of the Pacific Ocean as Indians, even the Maori of New Zealand being so named. Poule d'eau is the moor-hen, and is also termed more correctly water-hen. Poule would seem allied to Latin pull-us, young animal or foal; English derivatives, pullet, a young hen; poultry, and others.
Cochon d'Inde, the pig of India, is the guinea-pig, and is a native of South America. The same derivative is disguised in
French dindon, a turkey-cock; dinde, a turkey-hen; and dindonneau, a young turkey. German meer-schwein-chen (literally, “sea-pig-small”) is a guinea-pig—probably small pig from over the sea. But a guinea-fowl is called perl-huhn, pearl fowl, most likely from the circular white spots on the feathers. Meer-schwein is the porpoise, the English name of which is said to be from Latin porc-us, a pig, and piscis, a fish. Another example of the application of the terms cock and hen is seen in English peacock, peahen, pea-fowl; German, pfau (male), pfau-henne (female: note the suffix henne as approximate to English hen), pfauge-flugel (pea-fowl); French, paon (male), paonne (female), paon-sauvage-des-Pyrénées (the ruff and reeve mentioned above: why called paon I do not understand, perhaps from spreading ruff feathers on the neck of the male bird, but note its fighting qualities in sauvage); Latin pavo; Greek, taos and taon (a peacock). Skeat connects with Tamil tokei togei, a peacock; this might well be called “the bird of India,” but is not so named. Some years ago, when I was called upon to assist in the amusement of some children on a wet day, the entertainment consisted of each person present taking the name or rôle of some animal or bird. One small girl elected to be a peacock, and as the narrator of the story to the play arrived at the word “peacock” the child, in a peculiar tone of voice, cried out pa-oo, making the two syllables in a somewhat different tone. At once I saw the similarity in this perfect imitation to the call of the bird to Latin pavo, and am satisfied that the voice of the bird originates its own name.
French coq, a cock, would seem connected with the Greek kokkvζ, a cuckoo, as seen in kokkvξo, to crow like a cock, to call as the cuckoo. As an ally Skeat has cockatoo, a kind of parrot, from Malay kaka-tua. This latter is evidently seen in the Maori kaka (the Nestor meridionalis, a species of parrot), and in kaka-riki, a parrakeet (literally, a small kaka). From the plumage of this bird comes the standard for the colour green; also kaka-riki, green colour; kaka-po, the night parrot, from po, night. The name for Gallus domesticus among the Polynesians is moa, but when Captain Cook brought the fowl to New Zealand the name moa was then used to denote different varieties of Dinornis; so seemingly the Maori has invented two different original words founded on the call of the bird. The word hen Skeat connects with Latin can-ere, to sing, Anglo-Saxon, hana, a cock (literally, the singer)—as I have already indicated.
Whatever may be the origin of the words cock and hen, it seems to me from the above study that before man took the thought to distinguish between the sexes of birds and animals he had already domesticated the Gallus bankiva, now found
chiefly in the forests of Hindustan, and also herded or held in captivity the goat and the ox—that is, judging from European languages. The domestic fowl seemingly was by its Latin name gall-us introduced to the south of Europe by way of Gaul, or France. (Note the German word Gallien, Gaul. How do we derive the term Gallic cock in reference to the French?)
In Latin the two words bestia and bellua originally had special reference to wild beasts, but these same words in other languages, and through changes brought about by lapse of time, now have reference to domestic cattle. In Latin bestia is a beast, an irrational creature, in opposition to man, while animal includes man and all living things. Bes iarius is one who fought with wild beasts in the arena or or circus, as a public entertainment. If we follow bestia into Greek we come back to words already referred to—therion and ther (bestialis = theriodes). In French, by elision of letter s and change of pronunciation, we have bête, a beast, which, with the addition of either of the kindred words feroce and sauvage, means a wild animal. Béte, in conjunction with distinguishing terms, has reference to domestic animals, as bêtes-á-laine, sheep (beasts having laine, wool); bête à corues, horned beast; bête de somme, beast of burden; bête de Vierge (of the mother of our Lord), the ladybird (beetle); betail (plural, besti-aux), cattle; gros betail, large cattle; menu betail, small cattle; exposition de betail, cattle show. In Italian bestiame is cattle. Gros-betail is elsewhere said to be neat or black cattle, so I suppose menu-betail to be sheep and goats.
From our other Latin word—bellua, a wild beast—we get; Latin, bell-un, war; English, bell-i-cose, the desire of battle, and bell-ing, the challenge call to fight of stags and their allies during the rutting season; German, bell-en, to bark, to grumble, and brull-en, to bellow. We also get: English, bell, a hollow piece of metal for producing a loud noise or sound, and bull (the beast); mid-English, bellen; Anglo-Saxon, bellan, to make a loud noise; Icelandic, belja, to bellow; German, brull-frosch, a bull-frog, brull-ochs, a bull. English boulder, a large water-worn stone, so named from the noise made by these stones when driven by flood-waters along the bed of a river or stream, is in Sweden buller-steen; Swedish, bullra, to thunder, roar, and steen, a stone; in Danish ld for ll gives buldre, to roar, and bulder, a crash. Bull, as the bellowing beast, is shown in old French bugle, a wild ox; French, beugle-ment, a bellowing; English, bugle, which is short for bugle-horn (compare English cornet, a horn, also a wing of a troop of horse led by a cornet or bugle, also an officer of such troop; Latin c, rnu, a horn); because the horns of oxen were in old times used as loud-sounding
instruments, we have a hunting-horn or huntsman's horn, which he blew in the chase; a horn of beer could be obtained (or asked for) when I was a small boy; the larger portion of a horn with a wooden bottom let in was the drinking-cup of our ancestors. The word bull is not found in Anglo-Saxon, but its derivative or diminutive is bulluca, a bull-och. I am unable to trace the suffix uca or its later form och, which has certainly no connection with German ochs, an ox. Possibly the same terminal diminutive is shown in Latin bu-cula, a heifer, from bos, an ox, bull, or cow. A kindred word to bucula seemingly by inference is found in the Latin buccina, a trumpet or crooked horn: note German bugle, curve, anything bent, bugle-riemen stirrup-leather; tuba being the name of the straight trumpet. This word is also written bu-cina, which would seem the correct form though seldom used. The confusion is owing to close similarity to buccula, the diminutive of bucca, a cheek or mouth, and bucco, one who has the cheeks distended. Here may even be a connection, for a person occupied in blowing a horn has the cheeks puffed out. In Italian buccina is a trumpet; buccin-are is to proclaim with sound of the trumpet; and buciacchio is a bullock. In French bou-villon is a bullock. The proof of the argument is in Latin bucerus, having horns like an ox; Greek, bou-keros, having bulls' horns (from bous, a bull, and keras, a horn).
But to return to the consideration of Latin bestia, a beast, or wild beast. Through the French besti-aux, cattle, we probably have adopted the use of the term beast and beasts in reference to our domestic oxen—that is, to our horned cattle; for in our form of speech we make no provision in the generic term for the polled races of oxen, such as the Angus and Galloway breeds, originating in Scotland.
As an illustration I will give a clipping from a newspaper report of the annual fair at Ipswich in May, 1891, curiously called “St. George's Fair,”: “Fat beasts not quite so numerous, but buyers attending in strong force: a decided improvement in values was noticed. Fat sheep and lambs in request, and recent prices maintained. Numbers at market: Beasts, 1,359; sheep, 2,815; swine, 759. Messrs. Day and Sons, of Crewe, advertise ‘zomo-sal,’ a saline blood tonic for horses and beasts.” And also the following from the “Live Stock Journal” of the 28th June, 1901, under the heading “Scraps”: “Plough cattle were not expensive in 1310. At Cardiff two beasts bought for a cart cost only 18s.; twenty-three plough-oxen cost 13s. 4d. per head; while a bull and fourteen cows bought to stock a manor cost 10s. per head.” And this from an English newspaper: “Spalding, Tuesday.—A small show of fat beasts and a slow trade, 7s.
per stone being the top price. Store beasts sold rather better in proportion. Small supply of mutton, and trade hardly so good. From 6d. to 8d. per pound was realised. Good trade for pork, which was in demand at 6s. to 7s. per stone, according to quality.”
In prehistoric times, and even down to the date of Julius Cæsar's conquest of Gaul, there existed in Europe two species or varieties of the ox, living in a wild state in the extensive forests, named Bos primigenus and Bos longifrons, and their fossil remains are even found in Britain. The B. primigenus is considered by most naturalists to be the progenitor of the larger breeds of domestic oxen, and it is generally considered to be the great beast ur, mentioned by Cæsar in the history of his wars. Cæsar thus describes them: “These uri are little inferior to elephants in size, but are bulls in their nature, colour, and figure. Great is their strength and great their swiftness; nor do they spare man or beast when they have caught sight of them. These when trapped in pitfalls the hunters diligently kill. The youths, exercising themselves in this sort of hunting, are hardened by the toil, and those among them who have killed most, bringing with them the horns as testimony, acquire great praise. But these uri cannot be habituated to man or made tractable, not even when young The great size of the horns, as well as the form and quality of them, differs much from the horns of our oxen. These horns, when carefully selected, they ring round the edges with silver, and use them for drinking-cups at their ample feasts.”
In speaking of the untamable disposition of the young of the ur, it seems probable that the character and well-known disposition of another ally of the Bovidœ is confused with it—namely, the European bison, which is known in Germany as the aur-ochs, or auer-ocks, the latter of the two names appearing the more correct form, as meaning “the moorland-ox, the ox of the uninhabited or uncultivated land.” This animal is still preserved by Royal edict in Lithuania, and is also found among the hills and valleys of the Caucasus. It is there called zubr, a name which, curiously enough, contains the letters ur. This name ur is assumed by many to be the German prefix ur, ancient, or original; but if that were so it would seem necessary to use the suffix “ochs,” and so get primeval or ancestral ox. But my German dictionary also gives ur as the ure-ox (masculine) without the suffix ochs. So the Germans seemingly have two separate names for the bison, and that of ur for Bos primigenus. Now, ure is French, and is translated as the ure-ox, the urus (also of male gender). The German ur as a prefix gives us ahn, greatgrandfather; ur-alt, very ancient, primeval; ur-all, the
universe. Auer-ochs, a bison, is also male, as of a wild beast whose sex is immaterial. Why is this? And note auer-weit, extended as a plain; weit, wide, broad, extended, far off, distant. We have already met the prefix as in auer-hahn, when treating of the wild game, and so may take auer-ochs to be “the ox inhabiting the moorland or open country” (the bison).
We have seen that great use was made of the names of the domestic fowl in naming the sexes or quality of game birds, and the use of boc, a male goat, to indicate sex in certain animals in the German—cow and calf being the opposite terms—but we have in no case met with the use of bull as a sexual denominative, though in English we find bull-moose, bull-whale, and probably bull-wal-rus, which latter word, when analysed, gives bull-whale-horse—German ros, a horse. In English buck is used as the mate of the doe among smaller kinds of deer and the male of the goat. Can it be possible that the great beast ur was the wild bull, which came and served the domestic kuh (cow)? The bull, being of dangerous habits and of a roaming disposition, could not be attached to one place, or be safely held in captivity. He was bellua, the bellower; bestia, the beast; for-us, thier, the wild animal. He was the ur, thur, tur, taur-us—German stier, a bull; stier possibly stood for sta-thier, the beast confined in a sta-ll or sta-ble—Latin sta-bulum, a stable, from stare (for sta-are), to sta-nd, the animal being kept sta-tion-ary or confined, or shut up in a sty, as seen in pig-sty. According to Skeat taur-us is used for sta-ur-us.
In Scotland stirk is a calf not yet a year old, and is probably derived from the animal being shut up in a pen or sty away from the cow, or as a hostage for the return of the cow, or that the owner might secure the first of the milk. The word is possibly connected with Latin stirc-us, dung, owing to being dirty from its enclosure. But in the Caucasian Mountains tur is the ibex (Caper caucasica), and, I understand, is used also for Caper œgagurs, the supposed original wild form of the domestic goat. A similar sound is in thar, a native name for Hemitragus jemlaica, a kind of wild sheep. Note also chimerical, from Greek ximaira, a she goat; also the chimœra, a fabulous monster slain by Bellerophon. In the Doric ximaira denoted a young she goat under a year old. Compare English gimmer, a female or ewe lamb not a year old. Possibly all these words may have meant “the wild animal” originally.
To return to the goat. At the present time it is a surprise to find that our word tragedy is derived from the Greek word trag-os, a he goat, through trag-odia, tragedy (literally, “goatsong,” from Greek ode, a song or ode); trag-ic, from Greek
trag-ikos, literally goatish. One authority gives the explanation that a he goat was the prize given for the best tragic poem in a competition, “probably,” as Professor Skeat says, “because a goat (as the spoiler of the vines) was sacrificed to the Greek god Dionysus (Latin, Bacchus).” This latter theory, however, will not explain the connection between a goat and the tragic poem.
It is worthy of note that, in the German, zeigel and geiss are used in the feminine only, as denoting the she goat, as though they, being the more numerous members of the flock (fifty to one against the male animal—bock), gave the designation to the species. In olden times the males of the flock were chiefly killed for food, which is well shown in the Bible stories of entertainment of visitors and sacrificial rites. Observe the following: Zeigel-bock and geiss-bock, a male goat; geiss-rebe = goat-vine, the honeysuckle—i.e., the climber: perhaps from this Professor Skeat connects the goat and the vine, as “the spoiler of the vines”: also geiss-blatt (“goat-leaf”), the honeysuckle; geiss-melker, the bird goatsucker or night-jar, in French tette-chèvre, teat goat.
The goat being the earliest of the truly domesticated animals tamed by man, gives us the word butcher, through French bouc; old French boc, a male goat; French, bouch-er; mid-English, bocker, a butcher (literally, “one who kills goats”). The name bukka, a goat, extends even to the Sanskrit; but in German a butcher is fleischer, fleisch-hacker, and fleisch-hauer, derived from fleisch, flesh or meat.
In the word pheasant we are reminded that this game-bird was of comparatively late introduction to the forests of Europe, the name being derived from Phasis, a river in Colchis, to the east of the Euxine or Black Sea.
The domestic fowl is said to have reached Europe 600 B.C., but was domesticated in China 1200 B.C., and it is remarkable that the sexes of other birds should in many European languages be named after those of the domestic fowl. As the goat denoted the sex in certain animals, so the use of cock and hen signified the sexes of birds.