large grallatorial bird with very long legs, beak, and neck, Old English cran, common Germanic (cognates: Old Saxon krano, Old High German krano, German Kranich, and, with unexplained change of consonant, Old Norse trani, Danish trane), from PIE *gere-no-, suffixed form of root *gere- (2) "to cry hoarsely," also the name of the crane (cognates: Greek geranos, Latin grus, Welsh garan, Lithuanian garnys "heron, stork"). Thus the name is perhaps an echo of its cry in ancient ears.
Misapplied to herons and storks. The gray European crane was "formerly abundant in marshy places in Great Britain, and prized as food" [OED], but was extinct there though much of 20c.
Use for "machine with a long arm for moving weights" is attested from late 13c. (a sense also in equivalent words in German, French, and Greek). The constellation was one of the 11 added to Ptolemy's list in the 1610s by Flemish cartographer Petrus Plancius after Europeans began to explore the Southern Hemisphere.
1799, of the neck, "to stretch or be stretched out," from crane (n.). As "to stretch or bend the neck," 1849. Earliest sense (1560s) is "to hoist with a crane." Related: Craned; craning.
"The fiery cross which in old times formed the rallying symbol in the Highlands of Scotland in any sudden emergency," Gaelic cranntara, cranntaraidh, also (by influence of crois "cross") croistara, croistaraidh, literally "the beam or cross of reproach," from crann "a beam, a shaft" (see crane (n.)) + tair "reproach, disgrace." "[S]o called because neglect of the symbol implied infamy" [Century Dictionary].
early 15c., pedigrue, "genealogical table or chart," from Anglo-French pe de gru, a variant of Old French pied de gru "foot of a crane," from Latin pedem accusative of pes "foot" (from PIE root *ped- "foot") + gruem (nominative grus) "crane," cognate with Greek geranos, Old English cran; see crane (n.)).
On old manuscripts, "descent" was indicated by a forked sign resembling the branching lines of a genealogical chart; the sign also happened to look like a bird's footprint. On this theory the form was influenced in Middle English by association with degree. This explanation dates back to Skeat and Sweet in the late 1800s. The word obviously is of French origin, and pied de gru is the only Old French term answering to the earliest English forms, but this sense is not attested in Old French (Modern French pédigree is from English). Perhaps it was a fanciful extension developed in Anglo-French. Other explanations are considered untenable.
The crane was at the time in question very common in England and France, and it figures in many similes, proverbs, and allusions. The term appears to be extant in the surname Pettigrew, Pettygrew .... [Century Dictionary]
Meaning "ancestral line" is mid-15c.; of animals, c. 1600. Related: Pedigreed.
name of the fruit of several species of a swamp-growing shrub, 1640s, apparently an American English adaptation of Low German kraanbere, from kraan "crane" (see crane (n.)) + Middle Low German bere "berry" (see berry). The reason for the name is not known; perhaps they were so called from fancied resemblance between the plants' stamens and the beaks of cranes.
Upon the Rocks and in the Moss, grew a Shrub whose fruit was very sweet, full of red juice like Currans, perhaps 'tis the same with the New England Cranberry, or Bear-Berry, (call'd so from the Bears devouring it very greedily;) with which we make Tarts. ["An Account of Several Late Voyages & Discoveries," London, 1694]
German and Dutch settlers in the New World apparently recognized the similarity between the European berries (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and the larger North American variety (V. macrocarpum) and transferred the name. In England, they were marshwort or fenberries, but according to OED the North American berries, and the name, were imported by 1680s and the name was applied to the native species in 18c. The native Algonquian name for the plant is represented by West Abenaki popokwa.
"to select the very best selfishly," 1959 (implied in cherry-picking), American English (Billboard magazine), a pejorative figurative sense, from cherry (n.) + pick (v.). Related: Cherry-picked. Cherry-picker as a name for a crane with a bucket for raising and lowering persons (as to pick cherries from a tree) is by 1961; earlier it was the name of a type of railroad crane.