Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
Old English fox, from West Germanic *fukhs (cf. Old Saxon vohs, Middle Dutch and Dutch vos, Old High German fuhs, German Fuchs, Old Norse foa, Gothic fauho), from Proto-Germanic base *fuh-, corresponding to PIE *puk- "tail" (cf. Sanskrit puccha- "tail").
The bushy tail is also the source of words for "fox" in Welsh (llwynog, from llwyn "bush"); Spanish (raposa, from rabo "tail"); and Lithuanian (uodegis "fox," from uodega "tail"). Metaphoric extension to "clever person" is early 13c. Meaning "sexually attractive woman" is from 1940s; but foxy in this sense is recorded from 1895.
1560s (but perhaps implied in Old English foxung "foxlike wile, craftiness"), from fox (n.). Foxed in booksellers' catalogues means "stained with fox-colored marks." In other contexts, it typically meant "drunk" (1610s).
Algonquian people, translating French renards, which itself may be a translation of an Iroquoian term meaning "red fox people." Their name for themselves is /meškwahki:-haki/ "red earths." French renard "fox" is from Reginhard, the name of the fox in old Northern European fables (cf. Low German Reinke de Vos), originally "strong in council, wily."
A beautiful, sexually attractive woman or, in teenage use, man (1940s+ Teenagers & black)verb
To deceive; mislead; outwit; outfox: He tried to fox me with that phony accent, and did (1631+)
(Heb. shu'al, a name derived from its digging or burrowing under ground), the Vulpes thaleb, or Syrian fox, the only species of this animal indigenous to Palestine. It burrows, is silent and solitary in its habits, is destructive to vineyards, being a plunderer of ripe grapes (Cant. 2:15). The Vulpes Niloticus, or Egyptian dog-fox, and the Vulpes vulgaris, or common fox, are also found in Palestine. The proverbial cunning of the fox is alluded to in Ezek. 13:4, and in Luke 13:32, where our Lord calls Herod "that fox." In Judg. 15:4, 5, the reference is in all probability to the jackal. The Hebrew word _shu'al_ through the Persian _schagal_ becomes our jackal (Canis aureus), so that the word may bear that signification here. The reasons for preferring the rendering "jackal" are (1) that it is more easily caught than the fox; (2) that the fox is shy and suspicious, and flies mankind, while the jackal does not; and (3) that foxes are difficult, jackals comparatively easy, to treat in the way here described. Jackals hunt in large numbers, and are still very numerous in Southern Palestine.