Get the Word! Etymology with Mike and Alexa, Ep 2. (Manure and Dung)

This second episode of Get the Word! is being released to the general public, through the podcast and through our Patreon page ( ). These episodes will feature Mike, an English teacher and Etymology nerd and Alexa, Mike's lovely girlfriend and PhD candidate in Anthropology. They will discuss the history of the words we use everyday in English! We would love to hear from all of you. I will release some "Get The Word!" episodes exclusively on Patreon, so make sure to support The English Sessions on Patreon for these bonus episodes. What would you like to hear us discuss? Write in to the podcast,
Dung Beetle
Manure Notes

First, a definition: Manure is organic matter that is used as organic fertilizer in agriculture.

How we normally use it: NOUN: 1540s with verb being first, same word ("dung or compost used as fertilizer, any substance (especially the excrement of livestock) added to the soil to render it more fertile,)

VERB: “to cultivate (land, a garden) by MANUAL labor," also "to hold property, rule," from Anglo-French meynoverer (late 13c.), Old French manovrer "to work with the hands, cultivate; carry out; make, produce,"

AGAIN: initially from French "main-oeuvre"

MAN = hand (manos in Español)

Proto-indo-European: the unrecorded language from which all Indo-European languages are hypothesized to derive. (POSSIBLE HYPOTHESIZED SOURCES: It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite maniiahh- "to distribute, entrust;" Greek mane "hand," Latin manus "hand, strength, power over; armed force; handwriting," mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," literally "to give into one's hand;" Old Norse mund "hand," Old English mund "hand, protection, guardian," German Vormund "guardian;" Old Irish muin "protection, patronage." )

GIVE THEM HAND; in their hands (power)
SEINFELD: (NOT COUNTABLE) hand – (related terms: pre-emptive breakup) 1. one who has the upper-hand in a relationship. 2. the person who doesn’t have the upper-hand is said to have no hand. 3. one way to get hand is by executing a pre-emptive breakup 4. quote: “We all want the hand. Hand is tough to get. You gotta get the hand from the opening” — Jerry 5. quote: “Jerry, let me tell you something, a man without hand is not a man.  I got so much hand I’m coming out of my gloves.” — George


“The period between the dissolution of the monasteries and the middle of the 18th century was an important one for the development of Shropshire agriculture, as it was nationally. There were vast changes in landownership. Many estates, especially in the first half of the period, were run more profitably. Shropshire farmers became more commercially minded and specialized in producing those commodities best suited to the areas where they worked. The growth of dairy farming on the north Shropshire plain is particularly noteworthy but other livestock and mixed-farming enterprises developed elsewhere in the county.”

The dried manure of animals has been used as fuel throughout history. Dried manure (usually known as dung) of cows was, and still is, an important fuel source in countries such as India, while camel dung may be used in treeless regions such as deserts. On the Oregon Trail, pioneering families collected large quantities of "buffalo chips" in lieu of scarce firewood. It has been used for many purposes, in cooking fires and to combat the cold desert nights.

Another use of manure is to make paper. This has been done with dung from elephants where it is a small industry in Africa and Asia, and also horses, llamas, and kangaroos. Other than the llama, these animals are not ruminants and thus tend to pass plant fibres undigested in their dung. ( )

HUMANURE (portmanteau) (
“Some animals, including people, harbour harmful organisms in their waste. While commercial composting operations are able to bring compost to hot enough temperatures for long enough to kill off harmful bacteria, most home compost piles and bins do not. So it’s best to leave some poop to the professionals.”

Killing harmful bacteria in compost basically comes down to maintaining the compost at hot enough temperatures for long enough to complete the process.

Alexa's notes:
Dung Etymology
dung /dʌŋ/ n - collins
  • excrement, esp of animals; manure something filthy
Time: existed before 1000
  • Etymonline = meaning of “animal excrement” from late 13c
Lineage (some from and others)
  • Old English: dung (prison); late Old English dung "manure, decayed matter used to fertilize soil,"
  • Old High German: tunc (cellar roofed with dung for warmth); other Scandinavian
  • from Proto-Germanic *dungō
  • source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon dung "manure;" Old High German tunga "manuring," tung "underground room covered with manure;" German Dung; Old Norse dyngja "heap of manure, women's apartment;" Swedish dynga "dung, muck;" Danish dynge "heap, mass, pile"),
  • Proto-Indo-European - dheng- (to cover - perhaps to spread or cover with dung, as in fertilizing) or "covering" (source also of Lithuanian dengti "to cover," Old Irish dingim "I press"). The word recalls the ancient Germanic custom (reported by Tacitus) of covering underground shelters with manure to keep in warmth in winter.
Dung beetle,
  • common name of the beetles which roll up balls of dung," is attested by 1630s.
  • In colloquial American English, tumble-bug.
  • An Old English word for it was tordwifel "turd weevil."
Dunny Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms
  • A toilet. The dunny was originally any outside toilet. In cities and towns the pan-type dunny was emptied by the dunny man, who came round regularly with his dunny cart.
  • Dunny can now be used for any toilet.
  • The word comes from British dialect dunnekin meaning an 'earth closet, (outside) privy' from dung + ken 'house'. First recorded in the 1930s but dunnekin is attested in Australian sources from the 1840s.
Etymology of dungeon - wiktionary
From Middle English dungeon, dungeoun, dongoun, dungoun, dungun (“a castle keep" also, "a prison cell below the castle; a dungeon; pit; abyss”).
  • Apparently a merger of Old French donjon (“castle keep”) and Old English dung (“a subterranean chamber; a prison; dungeon”), which supplied the current sense of the word.
  • Old French donjon may itself be a conflation of Vulgar Latin *domnione (from Late Latin *dominiōnem, from Latin dominium (“lordship; ownership”)) and Frankish *dungjo (“prison, dungeon, underground cellar”).
  • Compare Middle English dung, dunge, dong, donge (“pit of hell; abyss”)
Both the Frankish and Old English words derive from Proto-Germanic *dungijǭ (an enclosed space; a vault; bower; treasury), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰengʰ- (to cover),
  • and are related to Old Saxon dung (underground cellar), Middle Dutch donc (“underground basement”), Old High German tung (underground cellar; an underground chamber or apartment for overwintering) (whence German Tunk (“manure or soil covered basement, underground weaving workshop”)),
  • Old Norse dyngja (“a detached apartment, a lady's bower”); whence Icelandic dyngja (“chamber”)). See also dung, dingle.
Dead ends
Dun - brownish color. Where Duncan comes from which means Brown warrior; also donkey. Dun attributed to proto-Celtic, not Germanic
Gong Farmer - see tab - from “gang” to go; tudor england


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