Throughout the centuries, the word pedigree (meaning "genealogical chart") went through a lot of different changes: past forms include pedegre, peedegrue, pedegree, pedegrw, pedygru, petygru, pedegru, pedigrew, peedegre, and petit degree. All of those spellings were folk etymologized to look like that; at its earliest point in 1425, the word was pe-de-grew, which reflects its origin from the Anglo-Norman phrase pe de grue, meaning "foot of a crane" (the connection being a perceived visual similarity between avian claws and the genetic tree) and the earlier Old French term pied de gru. Pied comes from the Latin word for foot, pes, and that traces to Proto-Indo-European ped, also "foot"; and gru is from Latin grus ("crane") and Proto-Indo-European gerh, which could mean "to cry hoarsely".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.