pheasant (n.)

well-known game bird, long domesticated in Europe, c. 1300 fesaunt (mid-12c. as a surname), from Anglo-French fesaunt, Old French faisan (13c.) "pheasant," from Latin phasianus (Medieval Latin fasianus), from Greek phasianos "a pheasant," literally "Phasian bird," from Phasis, the river flowing into the Black Sea in Colchis, where the birds were said to have been numerous.

The ph- was restored in English late 14c. (see ph). The unetymological -t is due to confusion with -ant, suffix of nouns formed from present participle of verbs in first Latin conjugation (compare ancient, pageant, tyrant, peasant). The Latin word also is the source of Spanish faisan, Portuguese feisão, German Fasan, Russian bazhantu.

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