These remain mainly American expressions, though made famous by e.g. Al Jolson’s song ‘Toot, toot, tootsie, goodbye’ and a more recent Dustin Hoffmann film Tootsie.
   The speakers are almost invariably male, addressing women who are increasingly likely to object to being labelled with one of these forms. It was noticeable that Dustin Hoffmann, supposedly a woman called Dorothy in the film, made a speech in which (s)he emphasized that ‘tootsie’ was not acceptable as a mode of address. Jolson was presumably not being disparaging to his loved one in the song, but times have changed.
   The ‘toots’ form is readily found in fiction. In Bethel Merriday, by Sinclair Lewis, a brother uses it to his young sister. In The Stork, by Denison Hatch, a man uses it to his secretary. Neither sister nor secretary appears to object.
   The origin of ‘toots/tootsie’ is presumably connected with the earlier use of ‘tootsie-wootsie’ for a child’s or woman’s foot.
   ‘Tootsie-wootsie’ for foot in baby language is analogous to ‘Georgy-Porgy’, ‘friendy-wendy’ and other similar expressions which arise from linguistic playfulness on the one hand, and the lisping pronunciation of young children on the other.
   It has also been suggested that ‘toots’ may be a euphemistic form of tush or tushie (buttocks). The origin here is a Yiddish word, used in an expression like zees tushele, ‘sweet bottom’. Babies are affectionately addressed in that way.
   American women know that, when considered as purely sexual objects by some men, they are likely to be referred to as a ‘nice piece of ass’. If they associate ‘toots/tootsie’ with that kind of attitude, one can understand their objection to the term.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • tootsy — (n.) also tootsie, 1854, baby talk substitution for FOOT (Cf. foot). Candy bar Tootsie Roll patent claims use from 1908 …   Etymology dictionary

  • tootsy — or tootsie [toot′sē] n. pl. tootsies [child s term] [Old Slang] Slang former 1. a foot 2. TOOTS 3. a girl or woman, esp. one who is promiscuous: often used disparagingly …   English World dictionary

  • tootsy-wootsy — /toot see woot see/, n., pl. tootsy wootsies. Slang. tootsie1. [1895 1900; redupl. of TOOTSY] * * * …   Universalium

  • tootsy — also tootsie noun (plural tootsies) Etymology: baby talk alteration of foot Date: 1854 foot …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tootsy — /toot see/, n., pl. tootsies. Slang. a foot. [1850 55; appar. expressive var. of FOOTSY] * * * …   Universalium

  • tootsy — Synonyms and related words: arch, clubfoot, digit, dog, extremity, fetlock, foot, forefoot, forepaw, harefoot, heel, hoof, instep, pad, pastern, patte, paw, pedal extremity, pedes, pes, pied, pug, sole, splayfoot, toe, trotter, ungula …   Moby Thesaurus

  • Tootsy — 1. foot; 2. lesbian; 3. (a demeaning or belittling term of address to) woman …   Dictionary of Australian slang

  • tootsy — Australian Slang 1. foot; 2. lesbian; 3. (a demeaning or belittling term of address to) woman …   English dialects glossary

  • tootsy — toot·sy …   English syllables

  • tootsy — toot•sy ortoot•sie [[t]ˈtʊt si[/t]] n. pl. sies. Slang. sts a foot • Etymology: 1850–55; appar. expressive alter. of footsie …   From formal English to slang

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