Pronounced: her-uh-DIH-tuh-munt, noun

Notes: I didn’t know this word existed

Yesterday’s word

The word railbird means

  • a horse-racing enthusiast
  • a spectator at a contest
  • an observer who offers uninvited advice or criticism
First usage

This word came into English in the late 1700s

Background / Comments

I find it interesting to see how a word’s meaning changes over time; the first meaning given above was the original meaning: it referred to someone who watches a horse race or training session from the railing along the track. The word bird is slang for a person with a specific character, or a peculiar person: thus “railbird”. One can imagine how it expanded to refer to any spectator at a contest (the second meaning). Some spectators offer unwanted advice/criticism, and this seems to have come about from the peculiar person part of “bird” (the third meaning).

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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