One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A large Eurasian falcon with a brown back and whitish head, used in falconry.
Falco cherrug, family Falconidae
- ‘The larger, dark brown and gray barred Altai Saker falcons are the favorite bird of Arab falconers.’
- ‘Some sakers have extremely pale plumage, appearing almost white in flight. Wealthy falconers are prepared to pay a fortune for these attractive birds.’
2An early form of cannon.
- ‘English colonists gave their artillery colorful names, such as falcon, saker, demiculverin, and culverin, to name a few.’
- ‘The saker fired solid iron shot, weighing between 1.8 and 2.7 kg (4-6lb). These would not explode on impact, but would bounce along the ground until they crashed into something or someone.’
- ‘Fort St. Maries had eight cannons, purchased by Lord Baltimore in 1633. Of these, four were rated as sakers and four as the larger demiculverins.’
Late Middle English: from Old French sacre, from Arabic ṣaqr ‘falcon’.
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