This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sunday Rest: stirk.

Here's a painful belch of a word.

It doesn't help that stirk rhymes with shirk and berk. And jerk, now I come to think about it.

In fact, do any -irk words involve anyone having fun?

Hang on, I'll just go and get my rhyming dictionary...

...well, basically, no. There's patchwork, which can be glorious beyond belief (no, really, it can) but pretty much everything else is, well, irksome.

So what's a stirk? Well, it's a either a...hang on, is there a word for a...oh rats, there isn't, is there...the sort of animal which when dead turns into beef? There's cow and bull and calf and bullock and heifer and ox; and then there's cattle (but that acts as a plural); but there's no singular term for this animal that I can think of.

Well, so all I can say is that a stirk is a member of the commonest species of domestic cattle, either female and aged between six and twelve months old, or a specimen of either sex, heifer or bullock,  aged from one to two years.

Good grief. That was difficult.

I think I may even be developing some affection for the word stirk.

Word Not To Use Today: stirk. This word comes from the Old English stierc, and is related to the Old High German stero, ram, the Latin sterilis, sterile, and the Greek steira, which means the same thing.


  1. Well, that doesn't sound very cattle-ish does it?
    And it sounds like it should be an old heifer or the like, not a young one!
    The poor young stirk!

    1. You're right, you know. Thanks. This word made me feel deeply uneasy, and now I realise that one of the reasons why is because stirk sounds like something clapped-out, when it's really something young.