by Matthew Cobb
A chat on Tw*tter today raised the issue of folk names for tadpoles – very appropriate for this time of year in the northern hemisphere, as they are all busy hatching out of their jelly. A tweep, @sammtank, said her son called tadpoles pollywogs. I had never heard of this term, but the OED confirms it being in ‘current use’ in the UK and it can be traced back to ‘polwygle’ in 1440. Amongst the variants listed by the OED are:
porwigle, pollywiggle, pollywoggle, pollywog, potladle, pollywig, purwiggy
So, gentle readers, what are your terms for ‘tadpole’ and, as BBC journalist @Vic_Gill asked me, what is the collective noun for pollywogs (or for tadpoles, for that matter)? She suggested ‘plethora’, but I suspect we’d be looking for something more anglo-saxon and less latin.
Chip in below with your folk and common names for tadpoles (so no ‘Freds’ ‘Ruths’ or other jokes unless they are VERY funny), and ideas about what a group of porwigles would be called.