|Mm, mm, tasty! Love the way Wordlady leaves out snacks for me!|
Even while they are driving you other gardeners crazy, though, I'm sure you are wondering, "Where does the word squirrel come from anyway?"
The Anglo-Saxons called them ácweorna (a cognate of the modern German word for squirrel, Eichhorn). Surprisingly, considering that the farming Anglo-Saxon speakers probably had cause to say, "Damn acweorna has dug up my plants again!" quite a lot, this was supplanted by a Norman French word, esquirel. Possibly because squirrel fur was used in the fashion industry, a French preserve, the French word won out.
Esquirel ultimately came from the critter's Latin name, sciūrus, with a diminutive -ellus added on.
The Romans had got it -- and this is where the story gets cute -- from the Greek skiouros, from skia (shade) + oura (tail). The shady-tailed ones! How handy that they have a built-in parasol for sunny days.
The evocative verb "squirrel" meaning to stash away (have I mentioned how I love the way English turns nouns into verbs?) is fairly recent, dating from the 1920s.
And in other squirrel trivia, the word was pronounced "SQUARE 'll" until the mid-19th century.
|Wordlady's secret Anti-Squirrel Warfare weapon on guard duty..|
|... and hard at work battling the sciurine hordes|