also groundhog, "American marmot," 1784, from ground (n.) + hog (n.). Also known colloquially as a whistlepig, woodchuck, and compare aardvark. Ground Hog Day as a weather forecasting event is first recorded 1869, in an Ohio newspaper article that calls it "old tradition;" the custom though not the name, attested from 1850s. Similar superstitions are widespread; Webster ("The White Devil") refers to one from Elizabethan London:
Let all that belong to great men remember th' old wives'
tradition, to be like the lions i'th' Tower on Candlemasday ;
to mourn if the sun shine, for fear of the pitiful remainder
of winter to come.
updated on November 05, 2022