• gander •
gæn-dêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Notes: Here is a word whose first and second meanings seem to be unrelated at first gander. Gander may also be used as a verb meaning "to rubber-neck, to crane your neck like a gander". When people stretch their necks, it is often to get a better look at something, hence the second sense of this word.
In Play: All English speakers have at one time or another used the common bit of English folk wisdom, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." This is a colloquial way of saying, "All men are created equal", while clarifying the ambiguity in the generic men. The other sense of gander is idiomatically used with the verb take: "Check out the websites of the NFL teams and take a gander their promotion of the cheerleaders."
Word History: Gander seems to be an original English word from Proto-Germanic gan(d)ron, inherited from PIE ghans- "goose", pretty much the same as Modern German Gans "goose". Russian gus' comes from Proto-Slavic gõs, where the [õ] represents a nasalized [o]. The PIE word has been preserved in a host of Indo-European languages, western and eastern: Spanish ganso, Latvian zoss (Z is a natural reflex of G: [g] > [ž] > [z]), Lithuanian žąsìs, Swedish gås, Urdu hans, Farsi (Persian) qaz, and Hindi ghused. (Thanks to Joakim Larsson for sharing today's Good Word with us after spotting the merit in it.)
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