gander

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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gander

Post by Archived Topic » Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:37 am

Ahmed, I am combining your posting with an older one in which this topic was discussed. Note that the older posting refers to 'Ask the Wordwizard,' which is not up yet but which we hope to have ready shortly.

Ken
Hello, Good job on the new look and reconstruction of the site.

I recently heard some one use this noun(Gander) as a verb Gandering. The person was referring to a youth who is dropped off in town for a community social function and then he(youth) is seen gandering in town. Has any one else ever heard this word used this way?
Ahmed
13th of January,2005

Ahmed EL Namer
Dawson Creek,BC

Does anybody know the origin of the word gander, and it is anything to do with the childrens nursery rhyme goosy goosy gander, in which case how does that relate to quick look?
Submitted by bernie manning (London - England)
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Post by Archived Reply » Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:51 am

Bernie,
Go to the resources section and go to Ask the Wordwizard. Type in 'gander.' If you click on take a gander you'll get it's difinition and some stuff about it's origin. Not very detailed though. If you want more info on 'gander,' I suggest you go to the other dictionary sites and similar links posted in the resources section.
Reply from Barbie Johnson (North Richland Hills - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:05 am

This word for a male goose has been around for over 1000 years (but before 1250 it was ‘gandre’) and derives from the Old English ‘gandra.’ Two features attributed to the gander have given rise to verbs using its name. However, there is very little apparent physical difference between a goose and a gander and evidently not much proverbially difference either since according to the saying that appears in John Ray’s collection of proverbs of 1670: WHAT’S SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE IS SAUCE FOR THE GANDER, often also seen as WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE IS GOOD FOR THE GANDER. Ray termed it ‘a women’s proverb’ – an early assertion of sexual equality, but it has since been used in more general terms to mean ‘what is appropriate for one person is equally appropriate for another person in a similar situation.’
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Since the late 1600s the verb TO GANDER has meant ‘to wander aimlessly or with a foolish air, to stroll’ which some think a gander has a tendency to do and hence the nursery rhyme, ‘Goosey, goosey gander, whither shall I wander? Upstairs and downstairs, and into my lady’s chamber.’

The slang expression TAKE A GANDER (1914) meaning look at or glance at comes form the slang verb GANDER (1887) meaning to stretch one’s neck to see, alluding to the resemblance between a goose and an inquisitive person stretching out their neck to look.
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Some also think the wandering idea is perhaps related to the obsolete GANDER MONTH, a term for the time of a women’s confinement for childbirth, during which her husband, who was called a GANDERMOONER was apt to wonder about GANDERMOONING much as a gander does while the goose sits on her eggs. Living in a town which is overrun by Canadian geese year round, I can tell you that both geese and ganders are almost indistinguishable, at least to me although probably not to each other, and they do seem to wander about, looking kind of silly, and oblivious to people, bicycles, and cars. Perhaps this seemingly numb wandering about gave rise to the use of the nouns GOOSE (1547) and GANDER (1553) to mean a dull or stupid person, a fool, a simpleton.
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<1509 ‘Shyp of Folys’ by Barclay (1570), page 68: “That goose that still about will wander . . . Shall home come agayne as wise as a GANDER.”— ‘Shyp of Folys’ by Barclay (1570), page 68>

<1687 ‘Great French Dictionary’ by Miege, II: “GANDER To go a gandering, whilst his Wife lies in, ‘chercher à se divertir ailleurs’ [etc.].”– ‘Great French Dictionary’ by Miege, II>

<1887 ‘Folk-Speech of South Cheshire’ by T. Darlington, page 206: “GONDER, to stretch the neck like a ‘gander,’ to stand at gaze. ‘What a't gonderin' theer fur?’”— ‘Folk-Speech of South Cheshire’ by T. Darlington, page 206>

<1903 ‘Cincinnati Enquirer’ 9 May 13/1: “GANDER, to stretch or rubber your neck.”— ‘Cincinnati Enquirer’ 9 May 13/1>

<1935 “To wander about looking for someone or something. Modern TO GANDER.”— ‘American Speech’ X page 17/2>

<1973 ‘Scientific American’ Oct. 1971: “Take a GANDER at the see-through door below.”— ‘Scientific American’ Oct. 1971>

<“If smoking is to be banned on the factory floor, then it should also be banned in the boardroom—WHAT’S SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE IS SAUCE FOR THE GANDER.”—‘Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs’>
(Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Picturesque Expressions by Urdang, Cool Cats, Top Dogs, and Other Beastly Expressions by Ammer, Oxford English Dictionary)
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Ken G – March 4, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:20 am

To my mind, the meaning of "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander" is not so much "What is appropriate for one person is equally appropriate for another person in a similar situation" as "Someone who gains/loses from a particular arrangement is in no position to complain when a rival gains/loses from the same arrangement".
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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Post by Archived Reply » Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:34 am

Erik, I do like the idea that the saucee ‘is in no position to complain’ aspect because that is usually the implication when someone uses this statement. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms defines it as “What applies to one applies to both, especially to both male and female.” The example they give is “After her husband went off with his fishing buddies for a week, she decided to take a vacation without him—what’s sauce for the goose, you know?” But I think you are right that this definition and the one I gave are missing the element of ‘gotcha – you’ve got no right to complain’

Ken – March 4, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:49 am

By the way, Ken, just for the record: the large grayish-brown and black geese are known as CANADA geese, not CANADIAN. If they really were Canadian, they would make a sound somthing like, "Honk, eh?" (like the mooses [meese?] in Disney's "Brother Bear"). *G*
Reply from K. Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:03 am

Allen, I know, I know, I know! I’ve heard this whole Canadian/Canada goose story before. But I think the ‘Canada goose’ folks are fighting a loosing battle since most dictionaries list them as synonyms. And, as we in Fort Collins walk – slippin’ and aslidin’– the gauntlet of geese and the presents they leave behind, rightly or wrongly, it’s all Canadian goose shit to us! (<:)
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American Heritage Dictionary: Canada goose or Canadian goose – A common wild goose (Branta canadensis) of North America, having grayish plumage, a black neck and head, and a white throat patch.
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Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary: Canadian goose (usually Capitalized) – Canada goose
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Random House Unabridged Dictionary: Canadian goose – see Canada goose
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Ken G – March 5, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:17 am

You'll be telling us mon-goose is Scots for gander, next!
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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Post by Archived Reply » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:32 am

Ken,count your blessings that it is Canada Geese droppings and not Canadian Shit.*G*
Ahmed
5th of March,2004
Reply from Ahmed ELNamer (Dawson Creek - Canada)
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gander

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:27 pm

bubble up
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gander

Post by Bobinwales » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:47 pm

Someone added this totally incomprehensible post to an old thread.
I'm looking to get new shirts and need to know whether you know anywhere I can get okay ones. I am wanting to request from Wings and Things so when you think they aren't any exceptional please told me!! Their shabbier one's are out of stock so I'm taking a gander at the short sleeves for R200
The perpetrator is apparently from the USA. S/he uses the word "gander". I may be totally wrong, but I thought this is a British English word. Does anyone have some ideas of origin?

I am away for a couple of days and have borrowed a computer so am unable to do any research because the owner wants it back!
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Bob in Wales

Re: gander

Post by trolley » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:13 pm

"May I take a gander around your shop"
"Certainly, as long as it's house-broken."
....ba dum bum!
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Re: gander

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:23 pm

Bob: I deleted that posting because it was a) near-incomprehensible, b) totally irrelevant to Wordwizard and c) possibly spam.

As for the origin of the term "take a gander", Michael Quinion seems to have that covered here.
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Re: gander

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:15 pm

Thank you Erik, both for deleting that piece of unadulterated nonsense and for the gander explanations. I am back home now reconnected happily with my computer.
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Bob in Wales

End of topic.
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