butterfly

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sardith
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butterfly

Postby sardith » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:18 pm

I just read in a book that I cannot deem reliable, or not, that the word, butterfly used to be, flutterby.

Can anyone confirm that? Better yet, can we get a column? I find the possibility of something like that so interesting, because if it happened once, it probably happened with other words. Well, WHICH other words?

I guess you can see where this is going. :mrgreen:

See what you can find out and thanks,
Sardith
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~

Perry Lassiter
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Re: butterfly

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:38 pm

No research yet, but I always thought "flutterby" was an amusing pun-like invention, sort of a malaprop.
pl

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Slava
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Re: butterfly

Postby Slava » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:01 pm

Sardith, your book is not reliable, at least on this matter. Butterfly comes from O.E. and was always butter and fly.

I'm not aware of any words that have changed in this manner. There are, of course, all the words that used to require a or an, and then they gave up their own n or stole one.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

Philip Hudson
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Re: butterfly

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:03 pm

Yeah, in English, butterfly is butterfly: QED. How fortunate are the Spanish with their mariposa and the French with their papilon.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

sardith
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Re: butterfly

Postby sardith » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:53 pm

Thank you, Slava.

Your point is well taken, Philip, especially concerning the Mariposa. My husband and I lived near Mariposa, California for about ten years and were fortunate indeed.

Sardith
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~

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eberntson
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Re: butterfly

Postby eberntson » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:37 am

German for butterfly is mainly "schmetterling."

And I think I read the same book a long time ago. Cute little legend.

E
EBERNTSON
Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more,
and all good things will be yours.
--R. Burns


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