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  • Paul Anthony Jones


(n.) a small, stout, short-tailed gamebird

red legged partridge

Most popular on HH this week was the fact that partridges take their name from a Greek word for farting. There’s not any really way of dressing that fact up, let’s be fair.

Partridge is the result of one of those etymological word chains with which the English language is replete. Partridge is an English development of an Old French word, pertis, which is itself based on a Latin word, perdix, whose roots lie in Ancient Greek. And it’s that original Greek root that’s believed to be entwined with perdesthai, a Greek word meaning “break wind”.

Why such a curiously flatulent name for what is otherwise a fairly unassuming bird? Well, the usual explanation is that the chuntering sound of the partridge’s wings as it—ahem—takes to the air, is meant (with a little imagination) to sound like a fart.

So whoever decided to call them partridges and not “fartridges” has seriously missed a trick.

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