The word butcher was first used in the year 1325, when it was spelled buccher. After that, it was attested as bocher, buchier, buchere, bochsar, bochour, bochyer, and bowcher; butcher was considered normal by the start of the seventeenth century. It comes from Anglo-French boucher, which had the same definition, and Old French bochier, which meant "slaughterer of goats" particularly. -Ier is an occupational suffix; the root is the word bouc, or "goat". That is either a descendant or cognate of Latin buccus, and most likely traces to the Frankish word bukk, still with the same meaning. Finally, it can ultimately be traced through Proto-Germanic bukkaz to Proto-Indo-European bug, or "ram" (making it a cognate of English buck). The pejorative use of butcher emerged in the early sixteenth century.
Adam Aleksic is a sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University. He also has disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.