Horsing Around

An interesting family of words in English concern the horse. I suspect that there are few animals with such a large vocabulary attached to them.

Consider that we don’t just have gendered words for the horse, but others too:

horse

mare

stallion

foal

filly

colt

gelding

steed

destrier

nag

hack

DSC03276

The interesting thing is that, with the exception of foal and filly, these words do not seem to be from the same roots, despite referring to the same animal!

This linguistic abundance is testament to the importance of the horse in people’s lives, at all levels of society, it speaks to us about the culture of the past in which the language developed.

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