Either the Greek guy who got to name the partridge was very childish, or he was messing with future linguists. What we now know as a beautiful bird was still a beautiful bird as the Middle French word pertis, was still a beautiful bird as the Old French word perdriz, was still a beautiful bird as the Latin word perdix, and was still a beautiful bird as the word that was borrowed from, Greek perdix. Then everything changes completely as we go back to the Greek verb perdesthai, which literally meant "to fart". This change was allegedly brought about because of the noise the bird's wings make, but it still seems pretty sketchy. Perdesthai derives from the Proto-Indo-European, which unlike most words in PIE only had one definition: still "to pass gas". This final root is possibly imitative, but that's just speculation at that point. So, from now on, if you want to be particularly punny and display both sophisticated and crude humor at the same time, call them fartridges. Then you'll also get to explain the origin, if your friends don't walk away, ashamed in you, by then.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd