The word leveret, which describes hares within a year of their birth, was first attested in a fifteenth-century book on Anglo-Saxon vocabulary, so it was probably colloquially in use a bit before that. It comes from the Old French noun levrat, which was a diminutive of levre, "hare". Levre comes from Latin lepore, the ablative singular of their word for "hare", lepus (the p to v change probably happened because of an intermediary vowel, β). Finally, lepus has an unknown origin but is thought to possibly come from an Iberian dialect because of cognates in some now-extinct regional languages. This is especially interesting to me because there's a house at Harvard called Leverett with bunnies on their shield; apparently the family it's named after is descended from rabbit hunters.
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.