Why Is a Redstart Called Redstart?


A redstart is named after color of its tail. The name consists of two words: red and start. Red is a primary color. Start means “to begin.” Then, why word start is used? The latter word is an improvisat­ion of a word from Anglo-Saxon language. The old word was “stert/steort” that meant “a tail.” The old word became obsolete in the fourteenth century. The word steort gave birth to another common phrase “start naked” that literally translates as “naked to the tail,” an uncommon usage. The phrase was also revised to “stark naked.” Stark means “completely” in this phrase. But the word “start” remained in names of birds.

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