Wild versus Tame

The words wild and tame go back to ancient Germanic roots, and perhaps earlier still, if they are—respectively—cognate with Latin ferus “wild” and domare “dominate,” as suggested by the Oxford English Dictionary. They always had the meanings they have now, and they also were always opposed. The first English reference to tame, an Anglo-Saxon gloss of 888 c.e., explicitly opposes them. They are defined in relation to each other. A wolf is wilder than a bad or willful dog, but the latter is wilder than a thoroughly subjugated one; the cur is tame relative to the wolf, wild relative to the good pet. Jasper National Park is wilder than Yosemite, and Yosemite is wilder than Times Square. Naturally occurring species of roses are wilder than ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles