[Ads-l] Butterflies and butter. (was: Children's speech errors; 3 examples)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Sat Sep 8 20:19:49 UTC 2018

My thanks to Garson for sending along the link to the article on

butterflies. I've now googled the German word Schmetterling"

together with "butterfly, and the following helpful item

appeared: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmetterlinge

That item (if accurate) provides an explanation. In the first

section (Herkunft des Namens, i.e., Origin of the Name) it tells

about the superstition that butterflies were once regarded as

the embodiment of witches and were particularly after cream.

Then (my translation): 'The English term "butterfly" points in the

same direction and corresponds to the regionally used (term)

"Buttervogel" [literally: "butterbird"], since the creatures were

attracted by the beating of butter.'

[Die englische Bezeichnung butterfly weist in dieselbe Richtung und

entspricht dem regional gebräuchlichen Buttervogel, da die Tiere beim

Butterschlagen angelockt wurden.]

Gerald Cohen

 *   *   *

Garson O'Toole wrote:


Here is a link to the pertinent article:

The Grammarphobia Blog
What's buttery about butterflies?
February 8th, 2008


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list