"puss" in Icelandic ? Swedish ?

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Tue Aug 23 16:14:42 UTC 2005

I don't have a dictionary of Modern Icelandic handy, but we can rule out
American tourists or the U.S. military as a source of "pussa," since the
word is older than either of these, or America itself, for that
matter--though conceivably it might have been uttered in Vinland.  It
appears in Cleasby/Vigfusson, An Icelandic-English Dictionary, which is
actually a dictionary of Old Icelandic.  It is defined as "cunnus, of a
beast, a mare, cow."  Whether it might have been extended to the human
anatomy in Modern Icelandic, I don't know.  Unfortunately,
Cleasby/Vigfusson doesn't give any etymological information on the word,
but an etymological link with English "pussy" in the anatomical sense seems
at least plausible.  It's phonologically a possible cognate, or it could
have been a loan TO English FROM the "Scandinavian military" more commonly
known as Vikings.

Peter Mc.

--On Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:25 PM -0400 "Douglas G. Wilson"
<douglas at NB.NET> wrote:

>> If Modern Ice. "pussa" is from English, one would expect it to be
>> regarded as "slang" or "vulgar," or whatever. Is it?
> I would expect this either way, but I don't know for sure. Maybe the next
> time I get over to the big library I can check.
>> Moreover, the only *likely* English-Icelandic vectors would be anglophone
>> tourists, making it a very recent import.
> There has been a significant US military presence in Iceland for over 50
> years, I think. I don't know how many US-ans are stationed there but I
> reckon it must be more than 1% of the entire Iceland population.
> -- Doug Wilson

Peter A. McGraw       Linfield College        McMinnville, Oregon
******************* pmcgraw at linfield.edu ****************************

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