3549 A common errorToday I was reading a book I keep in the bathroom for just such occasions and came across the sentence, "By applying the techniques we've discussed in this book, I was able to enjoy this bell-weather year." Huh? Does she mean bellwether as in a leading indicator of a future trend, or is she thinking "belle" as in beautiful or pretty. A wether is a castrated male sheep, and a bell was tied around his neck and he led the sheep. So a bellwether is a leader.
This leads me to my favorite (next to the words "snogging" and "Oreo Cowkies") bit of trivia from the Veterinary libary. There are about 55 English words for sheep--not breeds, but words for the ages, sex and use of the animal itself. (Yes, I know I told you this about a month ago.) I can't seem to track down a list but the ones I remember are buck, dam, ewe, ram, wether, hogg, hoggett, lamb and shearling. I'm not sure poll and jumbuck were part of the list although I've seen those words in sheep descriptions. Anyone from Australia or New Zealand out there who can help me out with directions to a list? I know the list was in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Yearbook, and I've checked the ones on-line, but didn't find it.
Update: Sort of poetic, isn't it?
Waltz Matilda, waltz!