I can’t remember ever seeing hoarse used when the writer actually meant horse (e.g. “I’m going to turn out my hoarse”) but it does seem common the other way round (e.g. “sorry, I’ve gone a bit horse”). That’s all the excuse I need to write a post that enables me to use a magnificent image of a magnificent animal.
- (of a voice) rough, harsh and/or unclear
- having a rough, harsh and/or unclear voice
- a solid-hoofed, four-legged domesticated mammal with a mane and tail
- a frame or structure used to support or mount something or someone
- to provide someone or something with a horse (or horses)
My tip: hoarse is often harsh.
- Collins English Dictionary, 2009
- Oxford Dictionaries Online
- Pixabay (image)
For the topic of this blog post, I’ve picked a word that has a very limited use. But it does allow me to use a picture of an adorable-looking donkey.
Proot is a word said to donkeys (or mules) to encourage them to move faster. Its origin is unknown. It could be related to the word proo, which is used to call cows and command horses. My understanding is that proo is imitative of a sound the animals naturally respond to.
The first recorded use is found in Robert Louis Stevenson’s account of his solo hiking trip through part of France. Modestine was the donkey who carried Stevenson’s belongings.
“‘Proot!’ seemed to have lost its virtue. I prooted like a lion, I prooted mellifluously like a sucking-dove; but Modestine would be neither softened nor intimidated.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes, 1879.
You might be most familiar with these homophones as a brand of footwear (Dr. Martens) and a common male name (Martin). But if you find yourself writing or reading about wildlife, it is important to know the difference in that context.
- a small, weasel-like, omnivorous mammal
- a songbird of the swallow family
My tip: a marten looks like a weasel; a martin is a bird.