Word for Wednesday: Flamingo

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Our chosen theme for April's Word for Wednesday posts is animals. So far we’ve looked at rhinoceros, ostrich, and python

The word animal has been used in English to describe sentient living creatures since the early fourteenth century, before which the word beast was more common. It comes from the Latin 'animale' meaning ‘being which breathes’, from ‘anima’ which means ‘breath’ or ‘soul’.  

This week we’ve got another bird word for you – flamingo

These iconic wading birds are known for their bright pink or scarlet plumage, long legs, and neck. They have heavy bent beaks which are used for filter feeding. 

Using this information about what a flamingo looks like, can you work out what the beginning of the word – ‘flam-’ – might be referring to?

Will give you a few moments to think about it. 




The answer is a flame.

Flamingo literally means flame-coloured

The word derives from 'flamma' which is the root of many firey words including flam, inflammatory, flamboyant, and inflammable.

Flamingo entered English in the 1560s, via Portuguese and Spanish. 

22 Apr 2020
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