Rein Deer but not Rein Dogs

So my brother took his five year old son to Lapland to visit Saint Nicholas. They saw the Northern Lights, froze in the minus 22 Celsius temperatures, stayed in a glass house and rode to Santa’s in a sled pulled by a reindeer. The next day they went mushing in a dog sled. So in the words of description department why do they call the deer pulling sleds reindeer but they don’t call the dogs rein dogs ?

I’ll wait.

Did you get it? The dog sleds don’t have reins on the dogs. The lead dog, some of you might remember Yukon King, takes voice commands from the “musher” to Hike!, Gee!, Haw, Easy, and Whoa or some variation thereof. But the deer that pull a sled or sledge are controlled by a reins like horses or oxen pulling wagons, or that poor bobtail nag that gets upset in the drift on the way to Grandmother’s house.

This is what I do with my days-I deconstruct things-looking for their original meaning and how usage has changed. For example are you aware that myriad, for the majority of its usage as a word, was solely an adjective, but that usage transformed it into a noun. Thus, ” myriad stars” became “a myriad of stars.” Words are important. The choice of words a person makes can tell you how they are really thinking. We sometimes call it a Freudian Slip when a person intends to say one thing but allows a word or phrase to creep-in that demonstrates they are thinking in an entirely different direction.

Now, a little of showing my age, my favorite dog sled command is when Sergeant Preston yells, “On, you Huskies!!” But now you only hear it at U of Washington and Northern Illinois games.

Think about people you know and what words they like to use. Do they know the actual meaning of the word? Do you?

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