It now seems unlikely that "Eskimo" means "eater of raw meat". Merriam-Webster changed its etymology when it brought out MWCD10, and referred me to an article by Ives Goddard in _Handbook of North American Indians_ (Smithsonian, 1984), vol. 5, p. 5-7. Goddard cites the following Amerindian words: Montagnais _ayassimew_="Micmac" Plains Cree _ayaskimew_="Eskimo" Attikamek Cree _ashkimew_="Eskimo" North Shore Montagnais _kachikushu_ or _kachekweshu_="Eskimo" "not analysable but explained by speakers as meaning 'eater of raw meat'" Ojibwa _eshkipot_="Eskimo" (literally "one who who eats raw") Algonquin Eastern Ojibwa _ashkipok_="Eskimo" (literally "raw eaters") Goddard writes: "In spite of the tenacity of the belief, both among Algonquian speakers and in the anthropological and general literature [...] that Eskimo means 'raw-meat eaters', this explanation fits only the cited Ojibwa forms (containing Proto- Algonquian *_ashk-_ 'raw' and *_po-_ 'eat') and cannot be correct for the presumed Montagnais source of the word Eskimo itself. [...] The Montagnais word _awassimew_ (of which _ay-_ is a reduplication) and its unreduplicated Attikamek cognate exactly match Montagnais _assimew_, Ojibwa _ashkime_ 'she nets a snowshoe', and an origin from a form meaning 'snowshoe-netter' could be considered if the original Montagnais application (presumably before Montagnais contact with Eskimos) were to Algonquians." _A Dictionary of the Otchipwe Language_ by Bishop Frederic Baraga (Beauchemin & Valois, 1878) gives _ashkime_="I lace or fill snowshoes"; the phrase _agim nind ashkima_ with the same meaning (_agim_ is the noun for "snowshoe"); _askimaneiab_="babiche, strings of leather for lacing snowshoes"; and _ashkimewin_="art or occupation of lacing snowshoes". But there are no other obvious cognates: the words for "snowshoe", "lace", "leather", "net", and "string" are all unrelated. In all other words beginning with "ashk-" or "oshk-", the prefix signifies "raw, fresh, new". Eskimos' self-designations include: singular plural language places Inuk Inuit Inuktitut Canada, West Greenland Inupiaq Inupiat Inupiaq North Alaska Inuvialuk Inuvialuit Mackenzie Delta Katladlit Kalaallisut Greenland Yupik Yupik Southwest Alaska Yuk Yuit Siberia, St. Lawrence Island "Inuk" and "Yuk" mean simply "person"; "Inupiaq" and "Inuvialuk" mean "real, genuine person". Goddard writes: "In the 1970s in Canada the name Inuit all but replaced Eskimo in governmental and scientific publication and the mass media, largely in response to demands from Eskimo political associations. The erroneous belief that Eskimo was a pejorative term meaning 'eater of raw flesh' had a major influence on this shift. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference meeting in Barrow, Alaska, in 1977 officially adopted Inuit as a designation for all Eskimos, regardless of their local usages [...]." For the the number of words the Eskimos supposedly have for snow, see the sci.lang FAQ, or the alt.folklore.urban archive under http://www.urbanlegends.com.
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