This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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



Friday, 27 November 2015

Word To Use Today: dodo.

Pigeons don't have much of a reputation for brains, and as for a pigeon that's forgotten how to fly...

Painting of a dodo head from the chest up
(The last painting of a dodo from life, 1638. By Cornelis Saftleven)

...oh dear, the poor dodo. It was so stupid it couldn't even learn to be afraid of the people who ate some of them and then destroyed their forest home, which finished off a lot more. It couldn't even learn to hate people when the people's domestic animals yummed up the dodos' eggs. And then there was a big flood, which probably finished the job of destroying the dodo - of which there probably weren't ever very many. 

A few bones and feathers remain, but most of the dodos you see in museums are models.

Skeleton and model of a dodo
This one is in Oxford.

Breaking every rule of publicity - no dodo, as far as I know, had Facebook, or even kept a vlog - it died so quietly that no one noticed for ages that it had gone.

Still, at least the dodo has become famous in death. Any person who refuses to stay up-to-date is called a dodo (though I think that is a bit unfair because all you have to do is wait five years and the chances are that most up-to-date stuff will itself be as dead as a dodo).

They talk of resurrecting the mammoth and various types of dinosaur, but I think the world would be all the finer for a big (a metre tall) fat fluffy friendly waddly bird.

And I won't care if it is stupid.

Word To Use Today: dodo. No one is quite sure where this word comes from. The Dutch dodoor means lazy person, but then dodaars means fat-bottom or knot-bottom (the dodo had a rather pert and fancy tail). There's also a Portuguese word doido which means fool or crazy, but then the Portuguese don't seem to have noticed the dodo much, so it's most probably nothing to do with that. 

Dodo does sound quite like a pigeonish sort of a call, as well.




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