Q: animal "produce"?

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 25 22:46:30 UTC 2008

On Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 11:17 AM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
> the problem is that "animal" is used to cover a large group of living
> things, but only in certain contexts, notably when used in contrast to
> "plant" (in ordinary language) and as a technical term in biology.  in
> this sense it takes in a large variety of creatures, including
> insects, spiders, sponges, corals, fish, molluscs, reptiles,
> amphibians, birds, and mammals.
> in ordinary usage, "animal" most often refers to mammals (excluding
> human beings); this sense is listed in NOAD2 ("as opposed to bird,
> reptile, fish, or insect").  as a result, "animal produce" would be
> understood as referring to produce from mammals, especially edible
> products, especially meat: beef, veal, lamb, pork.  and it would
> exclude poultry, fish, and shellfish.

OED has nothing about mammals per se, but does have

2. In common usage: one of the lower animals; a brute, or beast, as
distinguished from man. (Often restricted by the uneducated to
quadrupeds; and familiarly applied especially to such as are used by
man, as a horse, ass, or dog.)

I guess I'm uneducated at least part of the time. For me, colloquial
"animal" excludes birds and fish, but includes alligators and iguanas.

Merriam-Webster.com 2b:
    mammal  ; broadly : vertebrate

m a m

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