Posted by Word Camel on March 08, 2002
In Reply to: Bunny posted by nita on March 08, 2002
: : : : Over here in the UK (well, London at least) the phrase "bunny boiler" to describe a woman who looks like she might rapidly become worryingly obsessive and clingy if ever dated is in fairly wide usage - the link being to the psychotic character played by Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction".
: : : Bunny and rabbit are essentially interchangeable. The only difference I can find is that one, 'bunny' is especially used for young rabbits. On the other hand, we could just be saying " rabbit, rabbit" when we refer to bunny rabits.
: : : Rabbit is from probably from the Dutch "robbe" according to one dictionary. The thing is, I'm wondering where "bunny" is from. I'm wondering if it's one of those pig/pork things - i.e. the Normans invade in 1066 and bring all sorts of words for food, etc, and both names for a farm animal or a food survive side-by-side.
: : : "Bunny" is also a mining term meaning a great collection of ore without a vein leading to it or from it. There is a village in Nottinghamshire named Bunny, which in contrast to the mining 'bunny' has a great many roads leading to it but not very many leading out which gives it a Bermuda triangle-like quality. I once arrived in Bunny four times while trying to find a road - any road - that would take me to Nottingham. Or maybe it's just my driving.
: : : Camel
: : Maybe it's just me, but there is no way on God's green earth that I believe the words "bunny" and "rabbit" to be freely interchangeable. I am not ever going to go into a country butcher and ask for two skinned bunnies to make a bunny pie - any more than, in the unlikely event that I am ever invited to party with Hugh Hefner, I would manfully try to inveigle a rabbit girl to sit on my lap.
: : Bunny is interchangeable with rabbit only if the speaker, or the addressee is under the age of eight. Well, at least that's my theory.
: Bunnies - refers to it's bun according to my dictionary. Looking further I discovered bun (like bum) to mean "One of the buttocks", "Dialectal, hind part of a rabbit or squirrel, from Scottish Gaelic, stump, bottom, from Old Irish". So a bunny is a play on the cotton tail of the rabbit, again usually young and usually a pet.
Thanks for the excellent bit of information. Now I'm wondering why Americans refer buns, as in "BUNS OF STEEL" but the Brits refer to "bums". In America bums are tramps and tramps are trollops. Maybe it's the Irish influence on the language.