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Maris otter
Posted: 25 March 2013 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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There’s a kind of barley called maris otter. What is the origin of this name?

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Posted: 25 March 2013 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I can’t vouch for the accuracy, but this site says that GDH Bell of the Cambridge Plant Breeding Institute, who developed it, named many of his strains “Maris” (for the street on which the Institute was located) plus the name of an animal: there was also Maris Puma, Maris Dingo, and Maris Yak, among others.

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Posted: 25 March 2013 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Naming schemes like this are very common in software development (e.g., Mac operating systems: Lion, Tiger, Puma, etc.). It’s not surprising to find similar conventions in other fields.

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Posted: 25 March 2013 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Huh. Thanks

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Posted: 25 March 2013 01:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well, you learn something new every day - I’ve often bought Maris Piper potatoes, and vaguely assumed that was some traditional name, origins lost in the mists of time!

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Posted: 25 March 2013 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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“Well, you learn something new every day.”

“Eureka, Eureka!” As Maristotle would have announced.

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Posted: 25 March 2013 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Maristotters would be fairly buoyant.

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Posted: 26 March 2013 02:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I didn’t make the Maris Piper connection, sl, so thanks for that!

More on Maris Otter and Maris Piper etc in this Wikipedia page on Maris Lane in the village of Trumpington where these plants were developed:

There is evidence of Iron Age and Roman settlements in Trumpington who lived near to the ford over the River Cam that now lies near the road to Grantchester, and a Roman cemetery has been found. An Anglo-Saxon cemetery has also been found nearby at Dam Hill.[1]

By 1086 there was a thriving community of 33 peasants at the time of the Domesday Book, and the population had risen to 100 by the late 13th century. The village remained sizeable throughout the Middle Ages and by 1801 there were 494 residents. By the time the parish was dissolved there were around 1200 inhabitants.[1] Until the 20th century Trumpington was an agricultural village with cattle and sheep as well as crops. [2]

Maris Lane, Trumpington
Trumpington’s association with agriculture was extended further in 1955, when the Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) – founded in 1912 as part of the University of Cambridge’s School of Agriculture – moved to a site adjoining Maris Lane in Trumpington. Here the PBI developed new plants, notably potatoes called Maris Piper and Maris Peer, a barley called Maris Otter, and a wheat called Maris Wigeon. These are now in use worldwide. In 1990 the PBI relocated to Colney, near Norwich, but the reference to the Maris Lane site survives in the names of plants.

I wonder whether the town of Trumpton from the children’s TV series of the same name was based on the name Trumpington? The Cam in Camberwick Green is also suggestive of that ... however,

In the September 14th 1999 issue of the Daily Mail, a reader posed the question: “How far is it from Trumpton to Camberwick Green ?” Three replies were published. Two were opinions from other readers (one referring to the Trumptonshire Web), while the other was from Gordon Murray himself, who wrote:

“Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley are representative of real locations which are one-and-a-half miles from each other in an equidistant triangle. But their exact position must remain a mystery as disclosure could lead the actual places being inundated with tourists, something I couldn’t bear to see happen”.

There we are.  A nice little bit of nostalgia heavily disguised as information about the topic in question.

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Posted: 26 March 2013 03:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Wigeon? Is that a thing?

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Posted: 26 March 2013 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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OED has the Institute’s original statement on the naming policy in the entry for Maris, n.2

1963 Ann. Rep. Plant Breeding Inst. (Cambr.) 1961–2 iii. 22 It has been decided to adopt a new system of naming varieties that are produced by the Institute… The system will be a binomial nomenclature in which the first word will be ‘Maris’ and the second a word which will, as far as possible, be referable to the particular crop by its first letter, or letters. Thus, the two new varieties of barley have been named Maris Badger and Maris Baldric, and the new potato variety will be known as Maris Peer.

maris, n.1 for those interested is an obsolete term for the womb, from the Latin matric-, whence also matrix and another word for the womb (now rare, says OED), matrice.

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Posted: 26 March 2013 04:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Don’t panic, I looked up wigeon on the Font Of All Wisdom. Turns out it is some kind of water bird.

And thanks to that expedition, I now know that “falcated” means sickle-shaped, as do falciform and falcate.

So much to learn!

EDIT: Eliza’s nostalgic musings on fictional placenames has reminded me of the fact that the city in which I was born and raised has a bogus sounding name. Indeed, it is the name used for the fictional setting of a children’s cartoon, fairly recently.

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Posted: 26 March 2013 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I have no comment on barley or otters at this time, but I was surprised to be informed that this was “Posted: 11 months, 4 weeks, 2 days, 9 hours, 59 minutes ago.”

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Posted: 26 March 2013 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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But as the radius of the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness, as welcome answers lead to fresh questions. What’s the origin of “wigeon”?

If the term had been coined in 1980 rather than in the 16th century, I would have guessed it were a jokey contraction of “water pigeon”.

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Posted: 26 March 2013 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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languagehat - 26 March 2013 04:54 AM

I have no comment on barley or otters at this time, but I was surprised to be informed that this was “Posted: 11 months, 4 weeks, 2 days, 9 hours, 59 minutes ago.”

Yeah, back to the future. I commented on this a few months ago and Dave said that it’s a glitch in the software and that it corrects itself in about a minute.

Well, a month and a half ago.

[ Edited: 26 March 2013 05:23 AM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 26 March 2013 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The system will be a binomial nomenclature in which the first word will be ‘Maris’ and the second a word which will, as far as possible, be referable to the particular crop by its first letter, or letters. Thus, the two new varieties of barley have been named Maris Badger and Maris Baldric, and the new potato variety will be known as Maris Peer.

It seems the Institute decided to abandon the original naming convention at some point, or else Maris Otter would have referred to an oat.

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Posted: 26 March 2013 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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OP Tipping - 26 March 2013 04:56 AM

But as the radius of the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness, as welcome answers lead to fresh questions. What’s the origin of “wigeon”?

If the term had been coined in 1980 rather than in the 16th century, I would have guessed it were a jokey contraction of “water pigeon”.

This is a tricky one, as OED confesses.

Etymology:  Of difficult etymology.

The form suggests a French origin (compare pigeon ), but no appropriate French forms are evidenced as early as the English word or with the required meaning; compare vigeon a West Indian duck (1667 Du Tertre, Hist. Gén. des Antilles II. 277), of which there is a nasalized form vingeon (1) widgeon in Eastern dialect, (2) a duck of Madagascar (1771 Dict. de Trévoux); beside which there are gingeon ‘sorte de canard qu’on trouve dans les grandes Antilles’ (1832 Raymond Dict. Gén.), and Angevin dialect digeon widgeon.

French vigeon and Italian bibbio wild duck have been referred to Latin vīpio kind of crane, but this derivation is very dubious. The various extant forms suggest the possibility of a series of formations with suffix -io(nem) on parallel onomatopoeic bases, piu- , biu- , viu- , diu- , giu- (compare whew n.1, whewer n.).

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