Me Like Words
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Back with a quicky

Canary Islands
A group of mountainous islands in the Atlantic off the northwest coast of Africa forming Spanish provinces

Ok, so not the most exciting post of all time, but after reading the comments I can see everyone is just aching for a little etymology, so here goes. The Canary Islands. The Canary bird. It makes sense that the islands were named after the little birds that lived there, right? Wrong. In fact it was the other way around. The birds were named after the islands. But then how did this little group of islands come to be called the Canaries? Dogs, actually.

The Latin word for dog was Canis - suddenly canine makes sense - and when explores first landed on the islands they found them overrun with wild dogs. The dubbed the place The Island of the Dogs, which evolved into The Canaries. The little birds that lived there also took on the name and that about brings us to today. Oh, and canaries were particularly adept at dying in coal mines, warning the miners that poisonous gasses were wafting about and it would be a good time to get the hell out of there.

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Healing nicely, thank you.
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I (me) like words. And even more than liking words I like to know where they come from and how they ended up in my mouth. It's called 'Etymology,' and I hope you like words as much as me do. If you have a word or phrase you've been pondering send it to me at with 'Me Like Words' as the subject.

Location: New York City, New York, United States
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