Monday, May 13, 2013

Word of the Week - Gander

Gänsefütterung by Alexander Koester, 1890

On the road last week, silly conversation led us to the word gander. And I started to wonder whether the two meanings I knew of--a male goose and to look around--were from the same root, or if it were one of those cases where they had nothing to do with one another.

So off I went to etymonline.com the next day to find the answer. =)

Gander has meant "male goose" since the days of Old English. Apparently for a while in the 19th century it was used to mean single men (like "stag") too--which I didn't realize! Fun!

In 1680 gander became a verb meaning "to walk aimlessly." Kinda akin to a wild goose chase in that. Then in 1886, the verb arose that we're more familiar with, "to take a long look," from how a goose cranes its head around. So yep, definitely connected! In 1912, that verb became a noun--the look itself.

Always love discovering these things. =)

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