In case you ever need to know the etymology of an obscure constellation, apus is a small five-star constellation representing a bird-of-paradise visible in the southern hemisphere. Its name was first recorded as Paradysvogel Apis Indica (Dutch for "bird of paradise"), with apis being a typographical error for the Latin word for "bird", avis. Later, it was rewritten as apus, because that meant "without feet" in Ancient Greek and the avians were incorrectly believed to be footless. Apparently, the few times Europeans had encountered it before, the wings and feet had been cut off for decorative purposes and they just assumed that the bird could keep itself in the air because of its incredible feathers. Finally, avis is reconstructed back to the Proto-Indo-European root hewis, also meaning "bird".
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.