To: "COG" <>
Subject: ousel/ouzel
From: "roger curnow" <>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 13:55:00 +1000
Ian, I care.
The German is Amsel (without checking).
I had a very scottish friend (second language english) who called  all blackbirds ouzel.
His wife insisted it was only the black and white ones. Hence my earlier posting.
this is the relevant part of what the OED has to say though some of the fancy fonts may misbehave.
ouzel, ousel

   1. A name of certain birds of the genus Turdus.  a. An old name of the blackbird or merle (T. merula). This is app. the original application of the name (although sense b may have been included); it is now mainly a literary archaism, but appears to be in local use in the qualified form black- or garden-ouzel. Also attrib. in ouzel-cock.

   a700 Epinal Gloss. (O.E.T.) 665 Merula, oslae.  a725 Corpus Gl. ibid. 1306 Osle.  c1000 Ags. Voc. in Wr.-Wülcker 260/26 Merula, osle.  c1325 Gloss W. de Bibbesw. in Wright Voc. 164 En braunche seet la merle, an hosel-brit.  1387 Trevisa Higden (Rolls) I. 187 Þe wesels [L. merulæ, Caxt. ousels] be blak among vs; þere [Arcadia] þey beeþ white.  Ibid. 237 In towne, as it longes, Þe osul twytereþ mery songes.  c1450 Bk. Hawkyng in Rel. Ant. I. 296 Owsilless, and þresches. and other smale briddes.  1533 Elyot Cast. Helthe (1541) 20b, Blacke byrdes or ousyls, amonge wylde fowle hath the chiefe prayse.  1590 Shakes. Mids. N. iii. i. 128 The Woosell cocke, so blacke of hew, With Orenge-tawny bill.  1594 R. Barnfield Affect. Sheph. ii. x, Gins and wyles, the Oozels to beguile.  1746 W. Thompson Hymn to May xxvii, The ouzle sweetly shrill.  1842 Tennyson Gardener's Dau. 93 The mellow ouzel fluted in the elm.  1843 James Forest Days x, It is difficult there to know a carrion crow from an ousel.  1875 Lanc. Gloss., Black-ousel, the blackbird. 

   b. Applied to the allied species T. torquatus, usually distinguished as ring-ouzel; also known locally as crag-, moor-, mountain-, rock-, tor-ouzel.
   The earlier quots. under sense a may have included this: in the following it is distinguished from the merle or otherwise identified.

   c1450 Holland Howlat 713 The Maviss and the Merle syngis, Osillis and Stirlingis.  1549 Compl. Scot. vi. 39 The maueis maid myrtht, for to mok the merle+the lyntquhit sang cuntirpoint quhen the os?il ?elpit.  1601 Holland Pliny x. xxiv. 284 Ousles, Throstles, Blackbirds, and Stares,+depart aside from us, but goe not farre.  a1705 Ray Synops. Meth. Avium (1713) 65, Merula torquata, The Ring-Ouzel or Amzel.  1768 G. White Selborne xx. 57 The ousel is larger than a blackbird, and feeds on haws.  1885 Swainson Prov. Names Birds 8 Ring ouzel+so called from the white gorget on the bird's breast. 

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