"puss" in Icelandic ? Swedish ?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Aug 20 01:09:16 UTC 2005

Jakob Serenius's monumental English, Swedish & Latin Dictionary (ed. 2) of  1757 includes a bottom of the page entry "PUSS, _pudendum muliebre_."

It is not absolutely clear to me whether this word is supposed to be Swedish, English, or even Icelandic, though the last seems most likely. The Net is no help. Anybody with native fluency in 18th C. Scandinavian languages should be able to answer this one.

If it *is* Icelandic, or even Swedish, it would tend to support Merriam-Webster's suggestion that English "puss / pussy" really is etymologically distinct from Eng. "pussy," hare or cat.

The word is used sexually in English as early as 1699.


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