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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:38 pm

• badger •

Pronunciation: bæ-jê(r) • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Verb

Meaning: 1. (Noun) A carnivorous burrowing mammal of North America with short legs, long claws, a grizzled, gray coat, and a white head with a black mask around the eyes (family Mustelidae). 2. (Verb) To pester with constant nagging for something, to harass continuously with a request or demand.

Notes: Today's Good Word doesn't offer any stable derivatives, though badgerly "badger-like" and badgerer "a badger-hunting dog" have been used sporadically in the past. Like stodgy, this word contains an unnecessary D, but it represents no spelling problem if we remember that badger is based on badge (see Word History).

In Play: "Badger" is a popular name for dachshunds, whose German name means "badger hound" because of this breed's ability to enter badger burrows in pursuit of the animal: "Badger has been out badgering badgers again, I'm afraid". However, these days anyone can badger: "Mom constantly badgers me to get rid of my pet groundhog."

Word History: Today's Good Word first made print in 1523 as bageard "something with a badge", from bage "badge" + -(h)ard "who does X, has X, or is X". This suffix is related to Middle German hart "bold" and Modern English hard and hardy. It is visible in many names like Gerhard, Richard, and Bernhard. This suffix apparently was added to badge for the badge-like white blaze on the animal's forehead (see picture). The verb came along in 1794, reflecting the behavior of dogs hunting badgers or badger-baiting. (Margie Sved did not have to badger us a bit to run today's Good Word, which she very kindly suggested.)
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Re: Badger

Postby MTC » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:51 am

Had English speakers only left well enough alone, anyone who wore a badge today would be known as a bageard, "something with a badge." But no, that would have been too easy, wouldn't it? Just think, FBI agents, cops on the beat, school crossing guards, all "bageards."
Last edited by MTC on Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Badger

Postby tapoensgen » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:39 am

Somewhat insular description of the animal as being "of North America". The vast majority of badger species (and numbers) have their habitats outside of the North America.
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Re: Badger

Postby MTC » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:01 am

For the record:


Badgers are found in much of North America, Ireland, Great Britain[11] and most of Europe as far as southern Scandinavia.[12] They live as far east as Japan and China. The Javan ferret-badger lives in Indonesia,[13] and the Bornean ferret-badger lives in Malaysia.[13] The honey badger is found in most of sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian Desert, southern Levant, Turkmenistan, and India.[13]


For some reason the Palawan stink badger, Mydaus marchei, has been left out. This note will correct Wikipedia's slight.

Anyway, like Dr. Goodword, I had always subscribed to the "Out of North America" theory of badger origin which in fairness is more continental than insular in character. Opon reflection, and admittedly without expertise or education in Biology, I now believe that because of their diversity, the badgers originated at least 200,000,000 million years ago in Pangea before the supercontinent diverged into the present-day continents carrying the badgers' common ancestor with them. Either that, or on the sixth day at an unspecified location according to the Bible. I'm not sure which.
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Re: Badger

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:16 pm

A couple high school in this neck of the woods use
badger as the mascot for their teams.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Badger

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:14 pm

As does U Wisconsin, I believe. And the Honey Badger was an outstanding football player on the LSU defense until he could no longer defend himself against the cops. His motto was, "What the Honey Badger wants, the Honey Badger gets," as in interceptions and fumbles. His behavior is now the problem of some pro team, I forget which.
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