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Re: history of killies



At 2:55 PM -0700 7/9/02, Wright Huntley wrote:
>"Kill..." comes from a Dutch word for creek or stream. It appears in 
>many place names from New England to Ireland.


If you read of Kenneth Lazara's Killifish Master Index (p. viii), you 
will find out that Wright may be Wrong ... or not.  While the word 
"kill" does mean stream in Dutch, the word "killifish" may or may not 
be the result of suturing "kill" and "fish".  According to Lazara, 
there is an equally plausible explanation of the origin of the term 
based on the long-standing (200 years long) 'common use' of the word 
"killing" to describe a good bait:  Killing bait ... killing fish ... 
killifish.  According to this alternate theory, killifish is not a 
composite word meaning 'stream fish', but one that is closer in 
meaning to 'bait fish'.  It's worth remembering that despite our 
almost-reverential attitude towards killifish, some --most notably 
Fundulus heteroclitus or mummichog-- are sought out as great bait 
fish, and have been used that way for a long, long time. And that, as 
Lazara goes on to point out, "[g]eographically, the term 'killifish' 
arose in the New York City area where killifishes are not stream 
fish."

Anyway, that's just another theory on the origin of the word 
"killifish", which I thought I'd bring up, and which is described 
briefly (albeit more cogently and in greater detail) by Lazara in the 
KMI4.  Brook fish?  Bait fish?  Cool fish.
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