Thursday, May 17, 2012

Greek Squirrels

I took a trip to the library and found that the entries in the Dictionary of Old English do not contain etymologies. Darn and double darn. But, I spoke to someone from the project who said that Cleasby and Vigfusson were wrong about the Germanic squirrel being a corruption of the Greek term.
Then I decided to see if the Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for the Middle English 'aquerne', which it does. It was last used in print in 1200 C.E.. The entry also states that the first element of the word is identified with 'oak' but that the origin of the word is uncertain. So that is that - our best guess is Anatoly Liberman's - and there were no Greek squirrels running around in migration period Germany.

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