wussy (1977)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Fri Aug 12 08:19:36 UTC 2005

The latest OED entries include "wuss(y)", but with surprisingly late
first-cite dates: "wuss" 1984, "wussy" (n.) 1981, "wussy" (adj.) 1985.
(1984 for "wuss"? C'mon, that was two years after the definitive "wuss"
usage in _Fast Times at Ridgemont High_!)

Anyway, here's a 1977 cite for adjectival "wussy" from the Crimson...

Harvard Crimson, September 12, 1977
A group of jocks stand on the Weld stairs. "Soccer!" one shouts, "What
kind of wussy sport is that? Look no hands! Nah, I'm just shittin' ya."

The Crimson also has "wuss" from 1978, though that doesn't beat Connie
Eble's 1976 attestation or Barry's 1977 find from The Ithacan.

Harvard Crimson, November 15, 1978
"I'd go down to the park with him and play for an hour every night," she
remembers. "If I told him I didn't want to play, he'd call me a 'wuss' or
a 'wimp' and drag me out anyway."

--Ben Zimmer

More information about the Ads-l mailing list