Scavenge and scavenger are another example of words whose progression surprised me. Back-formations do that to me a lot. 😉 I guess I always assumed the verb came first–first there was scavenging and then the one who did it became known as a scavenger. Nope. And in this case, I think I always assumed that the primary meaning would be applied to animals who scavenge for food. Also nope.
So apparently the noun came first, dating from the 1540s as “a person hired to remove trash from the streets.” Interestingly, though, it’s from a Middle English word for a tax collector. It traces its roots first to an Anglo-French word for “tax” and back even further to the Old English sceawian “to look at, inspect.”
The verb form didn’t come along until 1640…which is still old, of course, but not nearly so old as the noun in all its forms.
Scavenger hunt is very new to the game, not joining the fun until the 1930s.
But they ARE fun, aren’t they? Which is why I chose this word for this week. 😉 The 2021 Spring Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt will begin on 3/18! I’ll be sharing a fun post about how to wear a hoop skirt, and there will as always be a ton of amazing giveaways in the hunt! Mark your calendars!