Hello and welcome to another week of fabulous fibbing and fantastic fabrications here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the one and only Michael Andersen of ARGNet and other exciting places!
Michael Andersen asked:
Dear Factually Deficient, why are cuttlefish so named?
First of all, I would like to compliment the formality and courtesy of Mr. Andersen’s phrasing, a polite gesture rarely seen in questions these days. My other readers, take note.
On to the cuttlefish. The story behind their name is an old one, one almost lost to the mists of time – but not quite. Fortunately, Michael Andersen has come to the right place, and asked just the right historical etymological botanical marine biologist for the story.
Back when the Plant King was just ascending to the first of his power, and all the plants who were true of heart gathered to crown him and to honour him, the cuttlefish – being a plant due to its underwater habitat, despite its animalistic tendencies – was one of the first to approach the great Plant King.
The cuttlefish, able-tentacled and formal of demeanour, successfully won its bid to serve the Plant King: to bring him his wine, and lay out his clothes, and greet his guests, and oversee his household. The apples, in their wisdom as namers of all things, titled this creature accordingly, and called it the butlerfish.
Time passed. As the Plant King’s power faded, the butlerfish mourned, but it no longer butlered, and the reasons behind its name grew lost and confused. Time corrupted the pronounciation, and people struggled to pin down what the name should truly be. Mistakenly, people created the folk etymology for what they thought the creature’s name was, cuttlefish, by explaining that it was so named as a corruption of how very cuddly the creature was.
While its tentacles – once quick to bring a silver platter before the great Plant King – are indeed very good at giving hugs, however, it never was named the cuddlefish. Rather, “butlerfish” became “buttlefish,” which, meaning nothing at all, slowly became “cuttlefish” and stayed that way to this day.
But perhaps, if the scion of the Plant King ever rises, the cuttlefish will rise, too, from the deeps, and butler once more.
Disclaimer: The above post is wildly untrue. It is not recommended to cuddle a cuttlefish.