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Like a bison


O.E. weosule, wesle “weasel,” from P.Gmc. *wisulon (cf. O.N. visla, M.Du. wesel, Du. wezel, O.H.G. wisula, Ger. Wiesel), probably related to P.Gmc. *wisand- “bison” (see bison), with a base sense of “stinking animal,” because both animals have a foul, musky smell (cf. L. vissio “stench”). The verb “to deprive (a word or phrase) of its meaning” is first attested 1900, so used because the weasel sucks out the contents of eggs, leaving the shell intact; the sense of “extricate oneself (from a difficult place) like a weasel” is first recorded 1925; that of “to evade and equivocate” is from 1956. A John Wesilheued (“John Weaselhead”) turns up on the Lincolnshire Assize Rolls for 1384,
but the name seems not to have endured, for some reason.


Comment from Lokki
Time: June 12, 2007, 3:07 pm

An odor:
Like a Bison smelled for the very first time.

Comment from mesablue
Time: June 12, 2007, 3:17 pm

Did the blog just break?

The center column is now half way down the page for me.

Probably just me and stupid IE 6.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 12, 2007, 3:31 pm

Yes, it’s an I.E. thing. An intermittent one…it’ll go away in a bit. I have NO idea what’s doing it or I’d fix it.

Thing is, it goes away by itself, so I can’t catch a clue.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 12, 2007, 4:44 pm

By the way, the Online Etymology Dictionary, where I snagged this, has a cool marketing idea whereby, for $10, you can sponsor a word for six months. They’ll run a short blurb and a photo, if you like. Looks like people mostly have given them as gifts.

Geek chique. Eh. I like seeing unusual online marketing ideas. Something about the tipjar concept I find disconcerting.

I’m thinking of sponsoring…bison. Yeah. Weasel is just too obvious.

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