Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Mowitch


[MÓW-itsh] [ MAH’-witsh] — noun.

Meaning: A deer; venison; game; wild animal

Origin: Nuu-chah-nulth, mauitsh; Ditidaht, moitsh, a deer

While the word itself refers to deer in general, as seen in “man mowitch (stag)” and “klootchman mowitch” (doe), it was occasionally applied to mountain goat or mountain sheep. It could also apply to deer meat, though if one wanted to be specific they could say “mowitch yaka itlwillie” (venison), and even be used to refer to wild animals in general, such as “huloima mowitch” ( an animal that is strange or different). The expression “hyas mowitch” (big game), on the other hand was sometimes used to refer to an elk, though they were usually called “moolock” or some similar pronunciation.

Mowitch is extremely common wood throughout the Plateau and the Coast in use by both natives and non-natives alike, and is found as far southeast as Shoshone territory and up into Alaska, and is so widespread that most other language groups assume the word originated with them.

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