hussy

hussy
   This started out as the word ‘housewife’ and suffered phonetic mutilation. By the seventeenth century it was already felt to be a separate word, with a meaning that had also lost its respectability. Male speakers seem mostly to have used it to mean a mischievous girl, a jade, or minx. Women using it to other women usually have sexual looseness or immorality in mind, and use it more forcefully. In Fielding’s Tom Jones it is equated by one speaker with ‘saucy trollop’. In the same author’s Joseph Andrews it is the word which springs to Mrs Tow-wouse’s mind when she finds her maid in bed with her husband. Eighteenth-century novels, in fact, are well-sprinkled with references to hussies, which may partly account for their being so pleasant to read.
   In Thackeray’s Vanity Fair Becky Sharp writes to Amelia and mentions that Sir Pitt Crawley has called her ‘you pretty little hussey’. One imagines that she was not too offended by the description. In Oliver Goldsmith’s The Good-Natured Man Olivia says to Croaker: ‘I’m sensible how little I deserve this partiality. Yet, Heaven knows, there is nothing I would not do to gain it.’ Croaker replies: ‘And you have but succeeded too well, you little hussy, you! With those endearing ways of yours, on my conscience, I could be brought to forgive anything.’ One would expect ‘hussy’ to be used only jokingly in modern times, but it is a serious insult, used by one black American woman to another, in The Choirboys, by Joseph Wambaugh. It is equated there with ‘bitch’.

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

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  • Hüssy — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Oskar Hüssy (1903–1964), deutscher Politiker (NSDAP) René Hüssy (1928–2007), Schweizer Fußballspieler und trainer Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • hussy — 1520s, mistress of a household, housewife, alteration of M.E. husewif (see HOUSEWIFE (Cf. housewife)). Gradually broadened to mean any woman or girl, and by 1650 was being applied to a woman or girl who shows casual or improper behavior, and a… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Hussy — Hus sy, n. [From Icel. h?si a case, prob. fr. h?s house. See {House}, and cf. {Housewife} a bag, {Huswife} a bag.] A case or bag. See {Housewife}, 2. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hussy — Hus sy, n. [Contr. fr. huswife.] 1. A housewife or housekeeper. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2. A worthless woman or girl; a forward wench; a jade; used as a term of contempt or reproach. Grew. [1913 Webster] 3. A pert girl; a frolicsome or sportive… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hussy — [n] loose woman broad, floozy, jade, Jezebel, minx, slut, strumpet, tart*, tramp, trollop, vamp, wench, whore; concepts 348,412,415,419 …   New thesaurus

  • hussy — ► NOUN (pl. hussies) dated or humorous ▪ a promiscuous or immoral girl or woman. ORIGIN contraction of HOUSEWIFE(Cf. ↑housewifery) …   English terms dictionary

  • hussy — [huz′ē, hus′ē] n. pl. hussies [contr. < ME huswife, housewife] 1. a woman, esp. one of low morals: contemptuous or playful term 2. a bold, saucy girl or young woman 3. Dial. a small sewing kit …   English World dictionary

  • hussy — Housewife House wife , n. [House + wife. Cf. {Hussy}.] 1. The wife of a householder; the mistress of a family; the female head of a household. Shak. [1913 Webster] He a good husband, a good housewife she. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. (Usually… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hussy — UK [ˈhʌsɪ] / US noun [countable] Word forms hussy : singular hussy plural hussies old fashioned an insulting word for a woman who likes to attract men …   English dictionary

  • hussy — Female human of questionable character. Not necessarily immoral, but bratty and inappropriately provocative Anna Nicole Smith is the hussy that married for money …   Dictionary of american slang

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