How Did the Word “Butcher” Originate and What Does Buck Mean?

The butcher of today may rarely see a living cow, sheep, or hog, or may never be called upon actually to slaughter anything larger than a turkey or goose.

Most of the killing and dressing of animals destined for food is now done in large packing houses, and the word butcher is often applied to one who merely handles portions of the dressed carcass.

But, unlike the tradesman to whom the term was anciently applied, he deals with meat of all edible kinds. The early butcher of France and Italy, slaughtered and sold only goat’s meat, according to the name of his occupation.

For the name is the Old French bochier, one who deals in goat’s meat, from boc, whence our word buck, a “he-goat.”

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