On hearing of a new influenza variant that combines aspects of both avian and porcine viruses I was pleased to conclude that pigs really can fly.

Now, after a few hours, it seems that the media are referring to this new variant as “Swine Flu”, and I’m left wondering if there are also “Cad” and “Bounder” types.

The use of the word “swine” seems a little strange to me. Apart from the pejorative use of the term, the word has virtually vanished from the English language – except, perhaps, for the term “Gadarene swine” – which smacks more of the English of Tyndale than of the current era:

Then ye devyles besought him [Iesus] sayinge: if thou cast vs out suffre vs to go oure waye in to the heerd of swyne.

And he sayd vnto the: go youre wayes. Then wet they out and departed into ye heerd of swyne And beholde ye whoale heerd of swyne was caryed wt violence hedlinge in to the see and perisshed in ye water.

Then ye heerdme fleed and wet their ways in to ye cyte and tolde every thinge and what had fortuned vnto the possessed of the devyls.

– Matthew 8:31-33, Tyndale translation (1526)


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