"mountain boomer"

Gregory {Greg} Downing gd2 at NYU.EDU
Fri Apr 27 12:51:45 UTC 2001

At 09:04 PM 4/26/2001 -0700, "A. Maberry" <maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU> wrote:
>The name "mountain beaver" is a misnomer. They are not beavers but a type
>of borrowing rodent (Aplodontia rufa). They don't necessarily live near
>water, nor do they build anything from logs like true beavers....

This is very useful -- and I guess it dims any hopes that "boomer" ever
meant "builder of log booms." So we are back to what I've kind of figured
from the outset, i.e., that "boomer" was applied to upland creatures that
rightly or wrongly were thought to vocalize. Certainly, people thought this
about the east-coast squirrels, i.e., the first animals to which the word
was applied. Who knows, maybe by the time people got further west they
weren't so sure exactly what the "boomer" meant either. Perhaps they
(understandably) conflated the animal name with the "hill dweller" sense
and/or the "temporary worker" sense, and simply slapped "mountain boomer" as
a humorous and/or pejorative label on some upland creature typical of the area.

Greg Downing, at greg.downing at nyu.edu or gd2 at nyu.edu

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