Monday, May 19, 2014
Word of the Week - Goose
Goose, meaning the water fowl, is not surprisingly old--really old, as old as English. Interestingly, the word's roots were not only for a goose, but for a swan, and is believed to be imitative on their honking.
From the 1540s onward, it's carried a meaning of "simpleton" when applied to a person. Gooseflesh or goose skin (goosebumps) are from 1795 (for the skin variety) and 1810. From what I can gather, it comes from how a plucked fowl looks before you cook it. The more modern bumps variety didn't come around until 1919.
As a verb, to be goosed meant, in 1818, to be jeered, particularly on stage. The, er, "poked in the rear" form of the verb, LOL, is from the 1880s, which is older than I expected!
Goose egg, meaning "zero," is baseball slang from the 1860s, and to cook one's goose is from 1845.
"Silly goose" is a favorite expression in our family--good to know where it comes from. ;-)