Happy Humpday, folks! Dromedary or Bactrian camel? One hump or two?
dromedary (n.)late 13c., from Old French dromedaire, from Late Latin dromedarius “kind of camel,” from Latin dromas (genitive dromados), from Greek dromas kamelos “running camel,” from dromos “a race course,” from dramein “to run,” from PIE *drem- “to run” (source also of Sanskrit dramati “runs, goes,” perhaps also Old English term “footstep”).
Ok, so a dromas kamelos is a “running camel.” What about Bactrian?
- Bactrian late 14c., “inhabitant of Bactria,” ancient region in what is now northwestern Afghanistan; as a type of camel c. 1600; from Latin Bactria, from Persian, literally “the western province,” from bakhtar “the west.”
The lighter, smaller one-humped camels are dromedaries (“running camels”) and their larger two-humped brethren are Bactrian camels. An easy way to remember Bactrian camels have two humps? Imagine the letter “B,” sideways!