etymology of clowns

the word clown is believed to come from the low german cloyne, which refers to a boorish person of unrefined manners; it is possible, although less likely, that this may derive even further from the latin term colonus, meaning one who is a colonist (implicitly a rural and provincial type).

such biting contempt for the intelligence of the lower classes is surprisingly common in the english language; the word "boor" probably derives from the same source as the dutch "boer" (farmer), the term "villain" similarly may derive from a term for a rural laborer (i.e., one who worked the fields on a villa), and so on. even in modern england, the term "common," as in "commoner," can be seen as a mild insult casting aspersions on one's taste.

that's really it. sorry, i made this page by accident. mixed up the terms etymology and taxonomy. interesting, tho.

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