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REINDEER

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REINDEER

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:01 am

• reindeer •


Pronunciation: rayn-deer • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A deer (Rangifer tarandus) with large racks of fuzzy antlers found in and around the Arctic Circle. In Lapland (Finland) the Saami people live by herding and breeding reindeer for their milk, hide, meat, and other products.

Notes: Like deer itself, this Good Word does not mark its plural: one reindeer, two reindeer, millions of reindeer, though some dictionaries have caved in and allow reindeers.

In Play: Those of us who live outside the Arctic
Circle see very few reindeer other than cutouts of them on lawns at Yuletide. In the early 19th century Saint Nicholas was still riding on horseback. That was his traditional means of transportation until 1823 when Clement Moore wrote his famous book, The Night Before Christmas, which put Santa in a sleigh driven by eight flying reindeer. These eight were joined by a ninth, Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, who originated in a marketing campaign by Montgomery Ward department stores in the 40s.

Word History: Today's word was imported from Old Norse hreindyri from hreinn "horn" + dyri "animal". The Swedes today call it a rendjur or just ren, while the Danes say rensdyr, and the Germans, Rentier. In Middle English the word deer meant simply "animal", like its German cousin, Tier, and its slightly more distant cousin, Russian zver', do today. So, when Shakespeare speaks of, "mice and rats, and such small deer" for Edgar's diet in King Lear, the last word does not upgrade the menu suggested by the first two words.
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Re: REINDEER

Postby Slava » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:20 pm

A married couple was being shown around Moscow one day, when the man felt a drop hit his nose.

"I think it's starting to rain," he said to his wife.

"No, that felt more like snow to me," she replied.

"No, I'm sure it was just rain," he said.

Well, as these things go, they were about to have a major argument about whether it was raining or snowing.

"Let's not fight about it!" the man said. "Let's ask our guide, Rudolph, whether it's officially raining or snowing."

As their tour guide approached, the man said, "Tell us, Comrade Rudolph, is it raining or snowing?"

"It is raining, of course," he replied officiously.

But the woman insisted, "I know that it felt like snow!"

The man quietly replied, "Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear!"
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Re: REINDEER

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:43 pm

A really great opportunity for me to practice aposiopesis, today's good word. (The spell checker wants to replace it with apoptosis, but I have no idea whether that's a good word or not.)
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Re: REINDEER

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:05 pm

Perry: How did you get from aposiopesis to Slava's very old joke in reply to an old post about reindeer? Something more severe than aposiopesis may be going on here.
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Re: REINDEER

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:37 pm

The joke was so old and so bad that I repressed wht I at first wanted to say. Don't remember why reindeer popped up.
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Re: REINDEER

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:54 pm

Slava: "The Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear" may be an oldie but it is a goodie. My favorite jokes are so familiar to all my friends that I have to find new friends to tell my jokes to.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: REINDEER

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:53 am

Reminds me of the jokers' convention where they just called out numbers and got varying responses from grins to belly laughs. One guy totally collapsed in breathless roars after "27" was called. One guy commented to another, "Guess he never heard that one before."
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