Re: [tied] etymology of 'hussy'

From: tgpedersen
Message: 25539
Date: 2003-09-05

--- In, Piotr Gasiorowski
<piotr.gasiorowski@...> wrote:
> 03-09-03 07:23, Ray wrote:
> > I recently read a book which says the word 'hussy' came into
> > before the form 'housewife'. However, most dictionaries'
> > columns list 'hussy' as a contraction of housewife; this might
> > suggest that 'housewife' was created earlier than 'hussy'.
> >
> > So, which account is correct? 'hussy' was created
before 'housewife'
> > or 'hussy' happened as a contraction of 'housewife', i.e. it
> > after 'housewife'?
> >
> > I will apprecite your replies.
> <housewife> (originally spelt <husewif>) is older. It was already
in use
> in Early Middle English (13th c.). English /w/ is notoriously
> in compounds, so the word was often contracted into <huzzif> or
> <hussive> (the vowel was shortened before the Great Vowel Shift),
> then further into <huzzy> or <hussy> (about the 16th c.). The
> differentiation of meaning between the full form (with a restored
> vowel) and the colloquial contractions is a still more recent

"Mom" and "dad" of a Swedish dog are 'matte' and 'husse'
respectively, probably from 'matmor' ('mat' = "food") and 'husbond'
(as in Danish, this word means not "husband", but "the farmer", ie.
in his capacity of employer (owner?) of the family and various
farmhands etc). 'Husse' looks more like a typical hypochoristic
formation from a two-word compound, which makes one suspect 'hussy'
is too; those English dictionary compilers don't know much Swedish,
do they? ;-)