BL: reindeer
Posted: 20 December 2015 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Old word, recent association with Christmas

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Posted: 21 December 2015 09:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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In childhood I assumed they were called that because they could be harnessed (i.e., you could put reins on them) and it never occurred to me to check that assumption.

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Posted: 21 December 2015 11:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dave - rendjur is a construction I have never heard in the 40+ years I have lived in Sweden, and you will not find it in regular Swedish-English on-line dictioniries. Nor is it recognized by major Swedish dictionaries including Svenska akademiens ordlista, the official dictionary issued by the Swedish academy. Reindeer in Swedish is simply ren. True, Swedes construct words by concatenation, but the nearest you get (except possibly in dialect forms) to rendjur is rentjur, meaning a male reindeer (tjur means bull).

You also make a rather tenuous leap from “uncertain origin, but is likely a reference to the creature’s antlers” to “a reindeer is literally a ‘horned beast.’” Not up to your usual high standards of critical analysis!

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Posted: 22 December 2015 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The OED says rendjur with cites from the 17th century, so it seems to be an older, perhaps archaic, form. I’ve made note of it and changed the wording of the “literal meaning.”

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Posted: 22 December 2015 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Fair enough! 17th century was a bit before my time in Sweden…

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