man+(noun) combining form

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Oct 3 02:06:02 UTC 2005

In a message dated Fri, 30 Sep 2005 15:49:21 -0400,  Carl Burnett
_Carl.N.E.Burnett.03 at ALUM.DARTMOUTH.ORG_ (mailto:Carl.N.E.Burnett.03 at ALUM.DARTMOUTH.ORG)

>But what about when the gender associated with a noun is  usually

>assumed to be FEmale, but the speaker wants to emphasize that, in  a

>particular case, it is associated with a male?  I can only think  of
>one solution to this problem that has been around long enough to  have
>made its way into dictionaries: the word "manservant,"  which
>presumably arose out of a need to distinguish your valet/butler  from
>all those female servants.

I would like to suggest an alternate explanation, namely that "manservant"
and "maidservant" (both dated "14c" in MWCD11) arose simultaneously as a pair
of  contrasting words.

     - James A. Landau

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