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I've been considering the term 'redneck', which is described by Google's info engine as coming "from the back of the neck being sunburned from outdoor work." As I've grown more involved with the Redwall community, I've started considering what an equivalent term may be for furred creatures in the size range between a mouse and a badger. As they have fur, the noticeability of a sunburn on the neck would be significantly decreased. Are there any other known, plainly visible effects of prolonged labor under direct sunlight in furred creatures? And, what term might be derived from these effects to describe such creatures?

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    $\begingroup$ I'd argue that you won't find any distinctly visible trait. What are you looking for, really, in this world? If it's just a nickname for those who toil under the sun, approach it from a behavior or mannerism they have. Maybe "stooped back" for those who lean over, working on the farm, which is later shortened to "stoops." Something along those lines. $\endgroup$ – Nex Terren May 24 '17 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ Brief search concluded that fur colour is governed by melanin, same compound as one causing colour of human skin and hair. High concentration of melanin protects from light, black people have naturally high concentration, white people acquire temporary increase ("tan") as result of excessive exposure. Since point of melanin is to protect from light, it's stable under exposure to light, which is unfortunate for your question - hair is not alive and thus only way to change melanin content of already grown hair would be decay. Basically, I couldn't find any visible effects on fur. $\endgroup$ – M i ech May 24 '17 at 1:26
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    $\begingroup$ This is fun. Actual words: Backwoods, bumpkin, hayseed, rustic. Invented words: Dirtpaws, lightfur, redears, redtails. $\endgroup$ – Era May 24 '17 at 1:29
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Sun-bleached fur.

People with brown hair can have hair get lighter in the sun, reddish and even blondish. That can happen to animals too. Here is a dog who spent a lot of time in the sun from http://candidnebcr.livejournal.com. I take from the page his red-blond coat used to be darker.

enter image description here

This link has a before and after of a dark brown horse who got sunbleached. https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/forum/discussion-forums/off-course/94616-sun-bleaching-horse-coats

So: have your critters work in the sun, and their dark brown fur bleaches to reddish blond on their necks.

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Having spent way too much time in the American south I can tell you that being a "redneck" has little if anything to do with skin tone resulting from outdoor labour. Granted​ that may be the origin story, but things have progressed... well... "progressed" probably isn't the right word... from there.

Redneck is very often a pejorative term. As in backward, racist, low class, gun-toting, hillbilly... None of these connotations have anything to do with the origin. But this is often a common usage.

Redneck has also been "reclaimed" with more positive connotations. Hard working, salt of the earth, God fearing, etc...

"Country folk" often have mixed reactions to the term. Some embrace it, others reject it, usually depends on who's saying it and why they're saying it. That said, the terminology in your world will likely largely depend on the connotations. Is it an insult or an in-term?

Consider the difference between "country mouse" and "work hound" for instance.

After your comment I'm thinking that "Dirt-claw" may fit the bill. It could work as a derogatory term with an agrarian root.

Rather than thinking about discoloration from working in the sun, think about discoloration from working in the soil.

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  • $\begingroup$ The perjorative connotation was actually what I was after; I was just looking for a term that had some semblance of origination to it as well. $\endgroup$ – Lepidolite Mica May 24 '17 at 4:10
  • $\begingroup$ @LepidoliteMica how does "dirt claw" sound to you? $\endgroup$ – apaul May 24 '17 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ I actually quite like that one. $\endgroup$ – Lepidolite Mica May 26 '17 at 8:31
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I love Redwall! Been a long time since I've read it though. According to Smithsonian and Pet 360, animals can totally get sunburned.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ask-an-expert-do-animals-get-sunburned-28218217/

https://www.pet360.com/dog/health/can-dogs-get-sunburn/6AvrV449p0-2-h8gAM8LRg#

One of the articles mentions that the ears and nose can become quite susceptible, so perhaps "Red-nose" (Although quite Christmas-y), or "Red-ears" as those are the first areas that I can think of noticing on a furred animal. Of course, I'm no veterinarian. That said, are you seeking a derogatory term for them akin to Rednecks because they are similar to rednecks, because they have the same color red in their titles, or for some other reason? Do they have any real reason to be sunburned any more than any other creature in the Redwall universe? Do the Redwall creatures in this story wear red paint or clothing or badges of any kind? Answering those questions will probably be more important in deciding a good term.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm looking for a perjorative term for farmhand creatures, with an etymology along the same lines as 'redneck'. $\endgroup$ – Lepidolite Mica May 24 '17 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ Then I would agree with terms like, "Dirt claw" $\endgroup$ – Xenobear May 24 '17 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ You could also still call them something like "red nose" or "red ears" $\endgroup$ – Xenobear May 24 '17 at 15:16
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Yes! There are! Look up temperature and the effects on Siamese cat fur!

This a type of albinism where the fur color is regulated by temperature. While it's connected with body temperature regulation, there is a noticeable difference if the animal spends time in the sun or heat or cold.

Some arctic animals have a seasonal change from bright white to brown and back again, but this isn't the same thing (although it may be governed by the amount of light, and therefore relevant, since a working class fur person who works outside would be more likely to change.

This is not typical of all furred animals, but within a species with these sorts of traits, pejoratives such as fur-changer (to denote one who works outside) might be relevant.

For normal animals sun-bleached would be more likely--so maybe a "light fur"

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  • $\begingroup$ While it's interesting to find that something like this actually exists, I don't think it'll work for the perjorative. The term 'redneck' refers to the sunburned patch between a shade hat and a shirt, an area which would probably take much longer to bleach fur in under the same conditions. $\endgroup$ – Lepidolite Mica May 26 '17 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ @LepidoliteMica For an exactly equivalent pejorative, yea, it's not bleaching--it's an actual genetic condition certain animals have, and it would not translate across all furred creatures. Something like "dirt claw" or something else, would be fine, but the question is very specific, so I went with that! :) $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby May 26 '17 at 19:27
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Another thing you might look into, which has parallels with human experience is weight. Until recently in our history, poor people were skinny and rich people were beefier. A little avoirdupois was a status symbol, showing your family had the resources to feed you properly. Think ... Reubenesque. In some societies this has been made quite explicit:

https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2013/07/96857/woman-in-the-sahara-i-am-fat-therefore-i-am-beautiful/

So ... pejorative terms for your rural poor might include skinnies or sticks. Ee gejer Skinny tailer bek boi a farm!

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