These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, the hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.
(Deuteronomy 14:4-5 KJV)
When I wander around the more obscure pages of the King James Bible, I run into words I never saw before!
My love of words (and my fascination with words that are completely new to me) sometimes keep me holding a Bible in one hand and a dictionary in the other.
For example, a pygarg? A what?
My New Revised Standard Version of the Bible translates pygarg as ibex. And my dictionary (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate) says that an ibex is a “wild goat living chiefly in high mountain areas of the Old World and having large recurved horns transversely ridged in front.”
Clears it right up, doesn’t it?
And besides that, who knew that a chamois was not just a very soft piece of leather that one uses to polish a car? I guess if I had thought about it, it might have occurred to me that chamois equals leather, and leather equals animal, but somehow I didn’t think that far.
This kind of information (which is not terribly useful, I admit) is just fun to know. I mean, think of playing Scrabble and being able to put pygarg on the board. You are bound to be challenged, but you will be right and your opponents will be bumfuzzled. The dictionary will be involved, I feel sure!
This leads me to wonder how any of our words came into being, but if we re-read Genesis, we will discover that we can blame it all on Adam. He is the guy God deputized to name the creatures!