This cow breeder poses for a photograph with a herd of she cows in Beurizot, France, February 2017. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)


Now, Words and also Their stories from VOA finding out English.

You are watching: Why do they call deer meat venison

On this program we regularly talk around the origins of words and also expressions that we use in American English. We likewise talk around how we usage them in day-to-day conversations.

Today we talk about animals--and animals we eat. In English, these two categories frequently have different names. Pigs turn into pork. Cows turn into beef. Lamb is mutton. Calves room veal. And also deer is venison.

But why carry out we contact these animals different names when we prepare them because that a meal? Why is that “pig” ~ above the farm yet "pork" in a sandwich?

The prize is the Norman Conquest of brothers in 1066. That is when plenty of French native became part of the English language. Plenty of of those French words regarded the battlefield, such as “army” and “royal.” many related to government and taxation.

And countless others regarded food.

When animals were in the stable or ~ above the farm, they maintained their Old English names: pig, cow, sheep and calf. But when they were cooked and brought to the table, an English version of the French word to be used: pork (porc), beef (beouf), mutton (mouton) and veal (veau).

On number of websites, word experts insurance claim that this adjust shows a class difference in between the Anglo-Saxons and the French in brother at the moment of the conquest.

Because the lower-class Anglo-Saxons were the hunters, they supplied the Old English names because that animals. However the upper-class French witnessed these pets only in ~ mealtimes. So, they offered the French indigenous to describe the ready dishes. Today, contemporary English speaker — regardless of social course — have come to use both.

However, the native “deer" and "venison," however, space a bit more complicated.


Etymology Online states "venison" comes from an Old French word indigenous the 1300s (venesoun) definition ""meat of large game," particularly deer or boar." and that Old French word originates from a Latin native (venation) definition "a hunt, hunting, or the chase."

Following the Norman conquest of 1066, any kind of hunted pet was called venison ~ it to be killed. And probably due to the fact that deer were killed much more than any type of other animal, “venison” concerned mean “deer meat.”

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

However, sometimes we use the word "poultry" as soon as talking around buying a chicken, turkey, or other similar bird to eat. Because that example, a grocery save may have actually a place dubbed “the poultry section.”

But we don"t usage "poultry" once we stimulate chicken or turkey at a restaurant, or offer it in ~ a meal. We just say "chicken" or “turkey.”



What around fish?

The French word because that "fish" is "poisson." some word specialists suspect the "poisson" is too close come the English word "poison" to end up being a common food word.

After all, even the food-rich culture of France cannot overcome the reality that eat poison might kill girlfriend or at the very least make girlfriend sick. Together a result, something that also sounds choose “poison” will more than likely be one unpopular selection at mealtimes.

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

In her language, do the words because that animals adjust when you eat them? permit us understand in the comment Section!

Thanks because that joining us. I"m Anna Matteo.

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I’m wilhelm the conqueror Britain’s very first Norman king. I found renown and also won my crown in ~ the fight of Hastings.In September that 1066 …”

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


Words in This Story

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

Norman Conquest – This significant event in background is when William, duke of Normandy, took manage of England. His vital victory at the battle of Hastings (Oct. 14, 1066) brought about profound political, administrative, and also social changes in the british Isles

conquest n. the action of taking manage of a country, city, etc., with 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 cared for

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

quail n. an Old people migratory video game bird : a type of tiny wild bird that is regularly hunted

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

overcome v. to loss (someone or something) : to successfully attend to or gain manage of (something difficult)