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June 17, 2011


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There's a very interesting entry for this word in Jane Mills's "Womanwords". It mentions some of the early superstitions about the shrew, such as its supposed ability to paralyse other creatures simply by running over them.

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, Stan. Yes, that's in the OED, too, only I forgot to include it. Here's a citation by Sir Thomas Elyot from 1542: '"Mus Arancus", a kynde of myse called a shrew, whyche yf it goo ouer a beastes backe, he shall be lame in the chyne'.

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