The surprising origin of the term bellwether, and why it’s an ominous label to apply to litigation:
The term “wether” originated in 9th century Old English, and referred to a castrated male sheep. However, by the 13th Century, the term “bellwether” had become synonymous with “wether,” and both referred to the poor, castrated male sheep. However, adding the prefix “bell” to “bellwether” denoted a specific role this neutered sheep played for both shepherds and his fellow sheep.
Read A word on bellwethers on the Legal Satyricon.