origin of French ‘sanglier’ (full-grown wild boar)

  original illustration for Of the Swine in The History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents (1658), by Edward Topsell     The French masculine noun sanglier denotes a full-grown wild boar. It literally means a boar living on its own, separated from the herd, since, via Old and Middle French forms such as sengler and senglier, it is from the popular Latin singularis (porcus), solitary (pig) – cf. Middle-French terms […]

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meaning and origin of ‘to be barking up the wrong tree’

  Fess Parker (1924-2010) wearing a coonskin cap in Walt Disney’s 1950s television series Davy Crockett – photograph: AP     MEANING   The phrase to be barking up the wrong tree means to be pursuing a mistaken or misguided line of thought or course of action—cf. also origin of ‘gone coon’.   ORIGIN   In […]

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meaning and origin of the term ‘stalking horse’

  The forme and manner of the Stalking horse of Canuasse stopt. – from Hungers preuention: or, The whole arte of fowling by water and land Containing all the secrets belonging to that arte (1655 edition)   The term stalking horse originally denoted a horse trained to allow a fowler to conceal himself behind it or […]

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