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  #1  
Old 04-01-2010, 04:06 PM
Sir T-Cups Sir T-Cups is offline
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Why are rabbits called bunnies? Who started that?

I was having this conversation with a co-worker and we can't figure out why rabbits decided to be called bunnies. Surely it doesn't have to do with Playboy right? Or Do I need to do some research?
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2010, 04:12 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is online now
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Apparently "bun" is an old Scottish word for rabbit, and bunny comes from that. I always wondered if it was related to the English word coney, which rhymes with bunny.
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:13 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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If you just want the etymology of the word, here's what etymonline has to say:

Quote:
bunny Look up bunny at Dictionary.com
1680s, dim. of Scottish dialectal bun, pet name for "rabbit," previously (1580s) for "squirrel," and also a term of endearment for a young attractive woman or child (c.1600). Ultimately it could be from Scottish bun "tail of a hare" (1530s), or from Fr. bon, or from a Scandinavian source. The Playboy Club hostess sense is from 1960. The Bunny Hug (1912), along with the foxtrot and the Wilson glide, were among the popular/scandalous dances of the ragtime era.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:54 AM
Sir T-Cups Sir T-Cups is offline
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Follow up question...What's the difference between a "rabbit" and a "hare"
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:11 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups View Post
Follow up question...What's the difference between a "rabbit" and a "hare"
Hares are in general larger, hsve precocial young (newborn rabbits are altricial), tend to move fast by leaps and bounds (as opposed to rabbit-style hops) ordinarily have longer ears, and are cooked differently when used for food. Hares are all (AFAIK; the Wikipedia article confirms my memory) in genus Lepus.

Rabbits are mostly smaller, don't ordinarily leave the ground in moving (walk, run, hop, not leap or bound), in general have smaller ears, and belong to a wide number of other genera, mostly of the form Prefix-i-lagus, in the Family Leporidae (yes, the family is named after the hares), Order Lagomorpha.

While the single-word common names do reflect a "real" difference -- a set of several dichotomous characters -- the common names of several species "cross the line": The 'varying hare' is a rabbit, the jackrabbit and snowshoe rabbits are hares by the characters above.
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:47 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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The better question is "Bugs Bunny" a rabbit or a hare?

He's films bill him as sometimes as a rabbit as in "Rabbit Rebel" and sometimes as in "From Hare to Eternity"

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Old 04-02-2010, 11:55 AM
gwendee gwendee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
Apparently "bun" is an old Scottish word for rabbit, and bunny comes from that. I always wondered if it was related to the English word coney, which rhymes with bunny.
It does? I have long been under the impression that the name of Coney Island came from it's rabbit/coney population and it does not rhyme with bunny there. Not arguing, just surprised.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:10 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwendee
It does? I have long been under the impression that the name of Coney Island came from it's rabbit/coney population and it does not rhyme with bunny there. Not arguing, just surprised.
"Coney", originally from Latin cuniculus ("rabbit"), did indeed used to rhyme with "bunny" in English. The Online Etymology Dictionary has a nice salacious explanation of why it doesn't anymore.
Quote:
Rabbit arose 14c. to mean the young of the species, but gradually pushed out the older word 19c., after British slang picked up coney as a synonym for "cunt" (cf. connyfogle "to deceive in order to win a woman's sexual favors"). The word was in the King James Bible [Prov. xxx.26, etc.], however, so it couldn't be entirely dropped, and the solution was to change the pronunciation of the original short vowel (rhyming with honey, money) to rhyme with boney.

Last edited by Kimstu; 04-02-2010 at 01:12 PM.. Reason: never mind
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:25 PM
Wile E Wile E is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
Hares are in general larger, hsve precocial young (newborn rabbits are altricial), tend to move fast by leaps and bounds (as opposed to rabbit-style hops) ordinarily have longer ears, and are cooked differently when used for food. Hares are all (AFAIK; the Wikipedia article confirms my memory) in genus Lepus.

Rabbits are mostly smaller, don't ordinarily leave the ground in moving (walk, run, hop, not leap or bound), in general have smaller ears, and belong to a wide number of other genera, mostly of the form Prefix-i-lagus, in the Family Leporidae (yes, the family is named after the hares), Order Lagomorpha.

While the single-word common names do reflect a "real" difference -- a set of several dichotomous characters -- the common names of several species "cross the line": The 'varying hare' is a rabbit, the jackrabbit and snowshoe rabbits are hares by the characters above.
So the movie Night of the Lepus was inaccurate because those were actually killer rabbits, not hares? I am frankly shocked that such a great movie would make a mistake but I guess Night of the Lagomorph just wouldn't have the same terrifying ring to it.
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  #10  
Old 04-02-2010, 01:33 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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Gee, whoever would have thought Hollywood would lie to us?
Seriously, hares are pretty much untameable whereas rabbits have about as much intelligence as a cat and can be trained somewhat for movie work.
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  #11  
Old 04-02-2010, 02:31 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
"Coney", originally from Latin cuniculus ("rabbit"), did indeed used to rhyme with "bunny" in English. The Online Etymology Dictionary has a nice salacious explanation of why it doesn't anymore.
So you're saying that Ed doesn't want anybody calling someone else a coney in the Pit (or anywhere else)?
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  #12  
Old 04-02-2010, 04:35 PM
simster simster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
The better question is "Bugs Bunny" a rabbit or a hare?

He's films bill him as sometimes as a rabbit as in "Rabbit Rebel" and sometimes as in "From Hare to Eternity"

All I know is that I am going to call him George....
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  #13  
Old 04-02-2010, 04:39 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
The better question is "Bugs Bunny" a rabbit or a hare?
Whichever is funnier at the time.
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  #14  
Old 04-02-2010, 04:55 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp
So you're saying that Ed doesn't want anybody calling someone else a coney in the Pit (or anywhere else)?
As long as you make sure to pronounce it so it rhymes with "boney" and not "bunny", I think you're safe.

Personally, I'm a little surprised that the verb "connyfogle" (or "cunnyfogle") isn't more widely used on the boards. It just seems like the sort of word we Teeming Millions would like.
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  #15  
Old 04-02-2010, 04:59 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simster View Post
All I know is that I am going to call him George....
And you will hug him and squeeze him and stroke him and pet him and....
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  #16  
Old 04-02-2010, 05:49 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
Personally, I'm a little surprised that the verb "connyfogle" (or "cunnyfogle") isn't more widely used on the boards. It just seems like the sort of word we Teeming Millions would like.
I was just about to say: I think I have a new favorite word.

Not that I'll get an excuse to use it very often.
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