This cow breeder poses because that a picture with a herd of she cows in Beurizot, France, February 2017. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)
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Now, Words and Their story from VOA discovering English.

You are watching: Why do they call deer meat venison

On this routine we frequently talk about the beginnings of words and also expressions the we use in American English. We also talk about how we usage them in everyday conversations.

Today us talk about animals--and pets we eat. In English, these 2 categories often have various names. Pigs turn right into pork. Cows turn right into beef. Sheep is mutton. Calves space veal. And also deer is venison.

But why do we contact these animals different names as soon as we prepare them for a meal? Why is the “pig” ~ above the farm yet "pork" in a sandwich?

The prize is the Norman Conquest of britain in 1066. That is when numerous French native became component of the English language. Plenty of of those French words regarded the battlefield, such together “army” and also “royal.” many related to government and also taxation.

And countless others related to food.

When pets were in the stable or on the farm, they retained their Old English names: pig, cow, sheep and calf. Yet when they were cooked and brought come the table, one English variation of the French word to be used: pork (porc), beef (beouf), mutton (mouton) and veal (veau).

On several websites, native experts claim that this change shows a course difference between the Anglo-Saxons and the French in britain at the time of the conquest.

Because the lower-class Anglo-Saxons to be the hunters, they supplied the Old English names because that animals. But the upper-class French observed these pets only in ~ mealtimes. So, they provided the French native to describe the prepared dishes. Today, modern English speakers — nevertheless of social class — have involved use both.

However, the words “deer" and also "venison," however, are a bit an ext complicated.


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Etymology Online claims "venison" comes from an Old French word from the 1300s (venesoun) an interpretation ""meat of huge game," specifically deer or boar." and also that Old French word comes from a Latin word (venation) an interpretation "a hunt, hunting, or the chase."

Following the Norman occupation of 1066, any kind of hunted pet was called venison ~ it to be killed. And probably since deer were killed more than any other animal, “venison” pertained to mean “deer meat.”

However, “chicken” and “fish” remain greatly unchanged.

However, sometimes we use words "poultry" once talking around buying a chicken, turkey, or other similar bird come eat. Because that example, a grocery store may have a place called “the poultry section.”

But us don"t use "poultry" as soon as we bespeak chicken or turkey in ~ a restaurant, or serve it in ~ a meal. We simply say "chicken" or “turkey.”


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What around fish?

The French word for "fish" is "poisson." some word specialists suspect that "poisson" is as well close to the English native "poison" to end up being a typical food word.

After all, also the food-rich culture of France cannot get rid of the truth that eat poison can kill girlfriend or at the very least make friend sick. As a result, anything that also sounds favor “poison” will probably be an unpopular selection at mealtimes.

And that bring us to the finish of an additional Words and Their Stories.

In your language, execute the words because that animals change when girlfriend eat them? permit us understand in the comment Section!

Thanks for joining us. I"m Anna Matteo.

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I’m wilhelm the conqueror Britain’s first Norman king. I uncovered renown and also won mine crown at the fight of Hastings.In September that 1066 …”

Anna Matteo composed this story for VOA learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly edited the story.

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Words in This Story

category n. a team of people or things that are comparable in some way

Norman Conquest – This significant event in history is when William, fight it out of Normandy, took control of England. His necessary victory at the fight of Hastings (Oct. 14, 1066) caused profound political, administrative, and social transforms in the british Isles

conquest n. the act of taking manage of a country, city, etc., through the use of force

royal adj. of, relating to, or topic to the crown

stable n. a structure in which animals are kept, fed, and also cared for

poultry n. birds (such as chickens and also ducks) that are elevated on ranches for their eggs or meat

quail n. an Old world migratory video game bird : a kind of little wild bird the is regularly hunted

pheasant n. a large bird that has a long tail and also is frequently hunted because that food or sport

overcome v. to loss (someone or something) : come successfully resolve or gain regulate of (something difficult)