Sarcastic Fringehead - why?!
June 21, 2010 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Sarcastic Fringehead - how did it get its name?

There's a fish called a Sarcastic Fringehead

Can't find any explanation as to why it's so named.

Anyone have any idea?
posted by Blackwatch to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's a non-standard usage of sarcastic that refers back to the word's origin:

Sarcasm is derived from the Greek word σαρκάζω “sarkazo”, meaning “to tear flesh”
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:18 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks 2bucksplus - that explanation makes sense, but do you have any reference which confirms this was the sense used by those naming the fish?

posted by Blackwatch at 7:30 AM on June 21, 2010

Wikipedia says it is "a ferocious fish which has a large mouth and aggressive territorial behaviour". You've seen the picture: there is no way that the "tear flesh" sense is not the one used by the namers. I'm not sure that you'd be able to find a reference confirming that the Ruby-Throated Warbler is so named for its song and the red color of its throat, but the evidence of your own eyes is reference enough.
posted by xueexueg at 8:47 AM on June 21, 2010

Response by poster: Xueexueg, what I was getting at was that the word 'sarcastic' is only BASED on the Greek word 'sarkazo' which means to tear flesh.

That doesn't mean that the English word 'sarcastic' has ever been used to mean 'flesh tearing'. If it hasn't, why would the fish namers use it in this context?

Your parallel with the Ruby-Throated Warbler doesn't really apply as ruby, throated and warbler are all established words in English.

You may be right. I'm merely interested enough to wonder if 2bucksplus can elaborate on his answer.
posted by Blackwatch at 9:06 AM on June 21, 2010

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