One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large goose with mainly grey plumage, which is native to Eurasia and is the ancestor of the domestic goose.
Anser anser, family Anatidae
- ‘The barking of geese broke the silence, greylags and Canada share open water with oystercatchers.’
- ‘The greylag goose is a native species in Iceland, the United Kingdom, and Europe, and it also winters in the Mediterranean and southern Asia.’
- ‘The greylag geese are not that unusual, and there are about eight pairs here.’
- ‘Westmorland marshes are apparently frequented mostly by the greylag geese though there is some hope that the pinkfoots may eventually be found in increasing numbers.’
- ‘The Central Science Laboratory is also collaborating in another project with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust which is exploring whether greylags seen in Britain are migrants from Greenland or belong to a population resident in the UK.’
Early 18th century: probably from grey + dialect lag ‘goose’, of unknown origin.
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