So there you have it. Our old title isn’t exactly lost, however: It lives on from the brown bear’s scientific feasibility, Ursus arctos, as well as in the English word”Arctic.”
Q: Where can the term”bear” come out of? –Etymology Eddie
All of your questions are answered by our resident bruin expert at our’Ask A Bear’ column.
So why did people devise a new name to the bear? Before guns and fences and homes, brown bears were the most bizarre apex predator of northern Europe. Hunters were cautious of hrktos they came to think that talking about them was asking for trouble. Eventually, linguists believe, the word became taboo that Germanic peoples started with a euphemism, bero, rather than
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The English word”bear” comes from the Old English bera. We think that evolved from the word bero, or even”brown one” in Proto-Germanic, a classical language spoken by a group of tribes from northern Europe from roughly 500 B.C.E. And that is where things get really interesting. You see, the parent language of Proto-Germanic, called Proto-Indo-European, had its own, different word for bear, very roughly pronounced”hrktos.”
A: Would a bear by any other name be as scary? I really don’t understand. But I’m awfully proud of my moniker. The word”bear” has a much more intriguing history behind it than most creatures’ names–one that speaks to this long and complicated history between us and people.