Thursday, November 13, 2008

Word of the Day

battue\bat-TOO\n. 1: the beating of woods and bushes to flush game; also: a hunt in which this procedure is used.

Example Sentence: During the battue, rabbits scampered out of the bushes where they had been hiding and toward the open field.

Did you know? The battue is a technique practiced by hunters in order to give them a clean shot at their targets. The hunters' assistants (or sometimes the hunters themselves) rap sticks against trees and bushes in order to scare animals out of the woods and into open space. The practice appears to have originated in France, which is probably why the word "battue," which debuted in English in the early 19th century, derives from the feminine past participle of the French verb "battre," meaning "to beat." Although some hunting traditionalists decried the practice as either cruel or unsportsmanlike when it began, the battue survives today, as does the word for it.

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