litter - what comes first?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Annakrutitskaya

Senior Member
Russian
Hello!

All dictionaries suggest more or less same meanings and usages of the word 'litter'.
Oxford Dictionary:
a) [uncountable] small pieces of rubbish/garbage such as paper, cans and bottles, that people have left lying in a public place; rubbish scattered about; a condition of disorder or untidiness

b) [uncountable] a dry substance that is put in a shallow open box for pets, especially cats, to use as a toilet when they are indoors

c) [countable] a number of baby animals that one mother gives birth to at the same time


My question is which meaning comes first? As far as "Etymology: 13th Century (in the sense: bed): via Anglo-French, ultimately from Latin lectus bed (from dictionary here)", then I assume the 'C' meaning comes first, is it correct? So, would it be righteous to assume further that due to our human superfluous attitude to all other creatures the word, initially used for just born animal babies, is now used for 1) waste, garbage (!) we, humans, produce and 2) 'B' meaning? If that is so, I wonder who was that guy who made this suggestion initially :)

Sorry, I am not grumbling - lampooning in a way :)

 
Last edited:
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    If you have questions about the history and derivation of words, theOnline Etymology Dictionary is a good place to look.

    It says that the word 'litter' meaning 'to provide with bedding' has had the extended meaning of 'strew with objects' since 1713, and has meant 'scatter in a disorderly way' since 1731.

    I can't copy the whole explanation without exceeding our limit for quotation. You should click the link and read the whole explanation for yourself.

    If you have further questions, you should start at thread in our forum:
    Etymology and History of Languages.
    English Only is not equipped to handle questions of this sort.

    This thread is closed.

    Cagey, moderator.
     
    Status
    Not open for further replies.
    < Previous | Next >
    Top