from Gaylord asked about animal nomenclature. Specifically, he wanted to know
why male and female animals have different names, such as bull/cow, buck/doe,
and cock/hen. Felicia from Fife Lake speculated that size might determine the
names of animals.
most cases, species, family, and class seem to be the dominant factors in
assigning the names. Some names, however, are one-of-a-kind: chimpanzee (blackjack/empress), ferret (hob/jill), goat (billy/nanny), sheep
(ram/ewe), swan (cob/pen). Another complication is that some animals have more
than one name. For instance, the male turkey may be called tom, gobbler, stag,
or jake (immature).
if you study the examples below, you’ll discover that animals belonging to the
same classification tend to share names.
boar/sow: aardvark, anteater, armadillo, badger, bear,
chinchilla, panda, guinea pig, jellyfish, mink, mole, otter, pig, porcupine,
prairie dog, raccoon, salamander, shrew, skunk. [boar: West Germanic,
1,000; sow: L. sus, pig, 725]
bull/cow: alligator, bison, camel, cattle, crocodile,
dinosaur, dolphin, eland, elephant, elk, gazelle, giraffe, gnu, hippopotamus,
komodo dragon, manatee, moose, okapi, ox, porpoise, rat, reindeer, rhinoceros,
sea lion, seal, tapir, termite, vicuña,
walrus, water buffalo, whale, yak. [bull: ON bole, bull, before 1200; cow: OFris kú, cow, before 1200]
buck/doe: antelope, deer, gerbil, goat, hamster, hare,
kangaroo, mouse, rabbit, rat, squirrel, tarsier, weasel. [bull: OE bucca, stag, 990; doe: L. damma, doe, 1,000]
cock/hen: chicken, dove, finch,
guineá fowl, gull, heron, hummingbird, bluejay, Komodo dragon, lark, lobster,
lyre bird, magpie, nightingale, ostrich, parrot, partridge, pheasant, pigeon,
quail, raven, salmon, squid, trout. [cock:
L. coccus, 897; hen: Old Low Ger. henna,
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