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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why is Fido a Popular Name for a Dog?

"Why is Fido a popular name for a dog?  Where does it come from?"  Over the years, the Newton Falls Public Library staff has found that patrons are often interested in the origins of words.

We began our search with a selection of print materials including the Oxford English Dictionary and Cassell's Dictionary of Slang by John Green, and Pet Names by Jean E. Taggart.  In our shared Clevnet catalog we found the title Don't Call Me Rover!!: 5001 names to call your pet by Rita Blockton.  Since we do not currently have this book on our shelves and the patron did not wish to wait for it to come from another library, we continued our search online.  However, this title did intrigue our patron and he now wished to know about Rover as well.

The website is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. They posted that a "stereotypical name for a dog is Fido, from the Latin for faithful."  The etymology for Rover, states that "Rover was a common name for a hunting dog in 1718" and the Oxford English Dictionary says it is "an animal which ranges over a wide area." had the interesting article Old School Dog Names You Don’t Hear Anymore  by Jenna Rohrbacher (December 26, 2012), which examined the names Spot, Rover, Fido and Lady. Much of what Rohrbacher included was similar to other information that we found.  She did note that "Fido is possibly best known historically as President Abraham Lincoln’s trusty pet."

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