The humble Aussie chook


I was surprised by the inclusion of chook  in a list of words supposedly borrowed from Irish. There are two etymological candidates in British dialect. In Scottish chook is a variant of chick. In Somerset dialect, chook is a cry used to call in the pigs and sometimes the chickens. You can hear the Somerset lass rounding up the chickens to put them in the henhouse at night, saying ‘Chook, chook, chook.’ It seems the Irish had a word with exactly the same sound, tioc, which they used in a similar way.  I grant you that this word belongs in the ‘origin uncertain’ category but I think it is preferable to take either of the British dialects as the more likely origin rather than an Irish one.

Sue ButlerComment