Friday, March 15, 2013

Where Did Bluenose Come From, Anyway?

Bluenoser is now in the Oxford dictionary, and in this article Bill Davey is quoted providing  the usual etymology: 
One referred to the early Nova Scotian sailors who would be out in the cold weather and supposedly their nose would get cold and turn blue and the other one refers to the early settlers who would eat a  lot of blue potatoes and herring. 
But could the the term have a more religious bent? I looked up bluenose in a couple of American dictionaries; both the American Heritage Dictionary and Webster's define it as a person who is particularly puritanical, who sticks to a strict moral code.

Is it possible that we Nova Scotians were known less for our seafaring toughness than for our self-righteous prudery?

Yet another Canadian nickname mystery.