Leo 21: Chickens intoxicated

T h e w o r d c hi c ke n d e s c e n d s f r o m t he O l d E n g l i s h c i c en m e a n i n g “ y o u n g f o w l. ” 1 T h e w o r d i t s e l f h a s se v e r a l de f i n i t i on s i n c l u d i n g ( 1 ) t he c o m m o n d o m e s t i c fo w l ( G a l l u s do m es ti c u s ) o r i t s y o u n g ( 2 ) S l an g. A c o w a r d ( 3) a g a m e i n w h i c h t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s p e r si s t i n a d a n g e r o u s c o u r s e o f a c t i o n un t i l o n e l o s e s n e r v e a n d s t o p s. 2 T h e w o r d i n t oxi c at ed i s c o mp r i se d o f t he p r e f i x in - , t h e b a se t o x i c , a n d t he s u f f i x – a t e d . T h e b a se d e s c e n d s f r o m t h e I E r o o t t ekw- w h i c h m e a n s “ t o ru n , f l e e . ” 3 I t s o n l y p a r o n y m i s t h e word toxic. TH EMES : T he f i r s t t h e m e he r e c o n ce rn s DA NGE R . Re c a l l t h a t t he k e y w o r d c hi ck e n ca n m e a n a c o w a r d , “ o n e w h o s h o w s i gn o b l e fe a r i n t he f a c e o f d a n g e r o r p a i n . ” 4 I t c a n a l s o re f e r t o a g a me o f d a n g e r . I n t e r e st i n g l y , t h e L a t i n n a me f o r a c hi c k e n i s Ga l l u s D o me s t i c u s , t h e l a t t e r w o r d o f w h i ch d e s c e n d s f r o m t he I E r o o t de m- w h i c h m e a n s “ h o u s e , h o u se h o l d . ” 5 O n e o f t h e d e r i va t i v e s o f t h a t r o o t i s t h e w o r d

da n ge r.
A s e c o n d a n d r e l a t e d t h e m e co n c e rn s COWA RDI CE , f e a r , o r o t h e r r e s p o n s e s t o d a n g e r . A s n ot e d p re v i o us l y , t h e w o r d ‘ c o w a r d ’ i s o n e o f t he s l a n g d e f i n i t i o n s of c hi c ke n . A l s o, t he r o o t o f t he k e y wo r d i n t oxi cat ed m e a n s “ t o r u n , f le e . ” T he p h r a s a l v e rb t o “ r u n a w a y ” i s a c o n c e p t s y n o n y m o f c o w a rd i c e b e c a u s e i t i s on e o f t he o b s e r v a b le r e s p o n s e s o f c o w a r d s i n t he f a ce o f d a n g e r. 6
1 http://www.etymonline.com/in dex.php?term=chicken 2 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/chicken 3 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 90 4 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/coward 5 http://web.archive.org/web/20080211183126/www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE82.html 6 http://thesaurus.com/browse/cowardice Starling Hunter © 2011 1

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful