Odd Origins Of Springtime Words

Hopscotch has nothing to do with men in kilts, or even Scotland. It means "line leap." "Scotch" is from the French word, escocher, meaning to scratch lines in the ground. Players hop over the "scotches," or lines. Originally, to "scotch" meant to cut notches on a counting stick, which may have something to do with a favorite English toffee. Where does the name "butterscotch" come from? To make it, one must cut or "scotch" the butter-colored confection into squares.

Hedgehog is the English name for a spiny member of the porcupine family common in Europe. Despite the "hog" part of its name, it is not even remotely related to swine. "Hog" refers to its snout, which looks like a hog's. And in England, the animal likes to make its home among the hedgerows bordering roads and fields. The animal is sometimes tamed as a "yard pet" to rid the garden of pests.

Mushrooms come from the French word mousseron, which means "that which grows in mousse (moss)." The word first entered English as "musheron." After a series of mispronunciations, it became "mushroom." As for chocolate mousse, it has nothing to do with mushrooms or moss. It comes from the Latin mulsus, meaning "to be sweet."

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