Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 18 17:27:30 UTC 2004

At 12:13 PM -0400 8/18/04, sagehen wrote:
>  >From another listserv:
>  >> ........ why the French used a term "sauvages" to describe white
>men who entered the Indian world of the fur trade, and how that word also
>came to describe Indians who worked with these white men.  The word comes
>from the French verb "s'avoir," to have something.<<
>I can find no support for this odd assertion among my limited resources,
>which instead relate /sauvage/ to L. /sylvaticus/.  Comments?

My only comment:  Vive l'etymythologie!


P.S.  I would think that "s'avoir", if it occurs at all, would be a
reflexive verb meaning 'to have oneself'.  How that would relate to
savages, much less how "s'avoir" would yield "sauvage" in the first
place, is a question better left unpondered.

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