Ostrich hiding its head

🏷  Semitic hidden ruler pun · symbol   —   by Gerry · Jun 2019 · 199 words

The myth of an ostrich hiding its head likely stems from the fact that the word “ostrich” means “hide-head” if read in Hebrew as סתר-רש str-rš. The same words can be interpreted as “hidden governor”.

There is no good explanation how the ostrich came to be depicted as hiding its head in the sand all the time. But there is a punny explanation: The name of the ostrich puns with Semitic סתר-רש str-rš, which means “hides the head”.

Because “heading” an institution means leading it, the word for “head” also means “leader” in most languages. The ostrich is therefore also yet another “hidden leader” pun.

Hebrew str = hidden; = head, leader

סתר str : to hide, conceal, cover, hide self, keep secret, hidden, undetected — Old Hebrew (Strong)

ראש rˀš rosh : head, best, bodyguard, captain, chief, company, finest, first, leader, master, summit, top, topmost — Old Hebrew (Strong)

For more info on this often-used pun see Esther & star. For the usage of the ostrich as a heraldic animal, see Strauss.

As an aside, the actual etymology for the word ostrich may be from Persian uštar-murğ for “camel-bird”, because the head & legs of an ostrich somewhat resemble those of a camel.

🏷  Semitic hidden ruler pun · symbol