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Old 07-05-2013, 01:56 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Born and bred

In a ranching environment, the word "bred" has a very specific meaning: the animal has mated and is either pregnant or has produced offspring. For example, "Heifers" are female cattle that haven't bred. "Bred heifers" are pregnant. "Cows" are female cattle that have had calves. "Have you bred those cattle?" means "Have you used a bull or AI to get those cattle pregnant?"

I hear the phrase "born and bred" used frequently, though, to refer to young people who have no children (e.g., "She was born and bred in Philly").

I understand that in that context, "bred" means "raised," but it really doesn't make etymological sense to me. Where did that meaning come from?
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:04 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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It's very old.
Quote:
Original notion of the word was incubation, warming to hatch. Sense of "grow up, be reared" (in a clan, etc.) is late 14c.
That seems to be a straightforward extension of the original meaning. Your childhood is an incubator for your adult life, similar to the child is father to the man.

The phrase born and bred is losing out to born and raised since the 1970s, according to a ngrams search.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:39 PM
aNewLeaf aNewLeaf is offline
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Quote:
"Have you used a bull or AI to get those cattle pregnant?"
I enjoyed a funny double-take on using AI to breed cattle.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:56 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is online now
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Op, you're taking a very narrow view of the word bred. It also means to cultivate a trait through selective breeding. For example, the sentence "foxhounds are bred to hunt" it does not mean that they are made pregnant to improve their hunting skills. It means that through selective breeding, hunting skill is now a recognized feature of this breed.

Likewise, if someone says that a person is a born & bred New Yorker, they are remarking that their new yorkiness is akin to a heritable trait. Something they were born with.
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:43 PM
turtlescanfly turtlescanfly is offline
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I've never understood the phrase "born and bred" to apply only to younger people, with or without children. As mentioned above, I've always taken it to be synonymous with "born and raised".

I think "born and bred" has become popular because of the alliteration (it kind of rolls off the tongue). Everyone understands what it means even if it doesn't make literal sense (think of "it's raining cats and dogs").
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:59 PM
brainstall brainstall is offline
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I always took it to imply that someone not just born somewhere, but from parents that lived there, too. A more polite and poetic way to say that someone was conceived in a particular place.
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Old 07-06-2013, 06:34 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Originally Posted by aNewLeaf View Post
I enjoyed a funny double-take on using AI to breed cattle.
Having worked in the computer industry for years, I got used to the "artificial insemination"/"artificial intelligence" dichotomy. I still use the acronym without defining it depending on context, but I need to stop doing that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hello Again View Post
Op, you're taking a very narrow view of the word bred. It also means to cultivate a trait through selective breeding. For example, the sentence "foxhounds are bred to hunt" it does not mean that they are made pregnant to improve their hunting skills. It means that through selective breeding, hunting skill is now a recognized feature of this breed.

Likewise, if someone says that a person is a born & bred New Yorker, they are remarking that their new yorkiness is akin to a heritable trait. Something they were born with.
I understand the different meanings -- and the one you raise is yet a third -- but I was wondering how it developed that way. Logically, it seems like quite a leap going from "bred" (having produced offspring) or "bred to hunt" (the result of generations of breeding) to "born & bred New Yorker" (born & raised in New York).

I think turtlescanfly may have pegged it: alliteration. The "born & bred" phrase came from the U.K., as did Cockney rhyming slang and a lot of other alliterative & rhyming speech & poetry.
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:08 PM
Pai325 Pai325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
In a ranching environment, the word "bred" has a very specific meaning: the animal has mated and is either pregnant or has produced offspring. For example, "Heifers" are female cattle that haven't bred. "Bred heifers" are pregnant. "Cows" are female cattle that have had calves. "Have you bred those cattle?" means "Have you used a bull or AI to get those cattle pregnant?"

I hear the phrase "born and bred" used frequently, though, to refer to young people who have no children (e.g., "She was born and bred in Philly").

I understand that in that context, "bred" means "raised," but it really doesn't make etymological sense to me. Where did that meaning come from?
I've heard it used, but never only in regard to young people or people without children. When I was younger it was a pretty common way of letting you know about someone's background.
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