Ousel / Ouzel / Woosell

To: "chat line" <>
Subject: Ousel / Ouzel / Woosell
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 20:00:18 +1000
Ian Fraser writes, "While today the word is only used for another thrush (the Ring Ouzel Turdus
torquatus) it originated a very long time ago in Old English as the name for
Blackbird, which only took over in the 1600s."
The Oxford Dictionary of British Bird Names includes the following comment: "In Early Modern English an initial w developed in some districts, and this form may be spelt Woosell as in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream of 1590."  'The Woosell cocke, so blacke of hew, / With Orenge-tawny bill'.
John Layton.
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