_Hussif_: this meaning may not be in the OED

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 28 23:22:22 UTC 2010

The word itself is definitely in the micro-edition of the OED2,
however. The reader is referred to "housewife." Unfortunately, the
problem of myopia, presbyopia, and their concomitant ocular defects
kept me from going to the trouble of trying to work through all of
that word's cites in order to be certain that this meaning of "hussif"
isn't already noted under _housewife_ as "a portable, pocket-sized
sewing-kit" or something equally obvious and prosaic.

"So, I produced a traveling-bag and placed therein the following
articles:---a "diamond edition" of Longfellow, the Harper's text of
Horace, a manifold note-book for the _res gestae_, a change of
flannel, a tooth-brush, my sister's spool of snuff-colored thread, and
my mother's


"This latter[!] article was very wonderfully and inscrutably made, and
contained a thimble, an elegant assortment of pins, needles and
buttons, scissors, and leaves for needles, some of white flannel,
daintily stitched with pink thread around the edges, and some of
scarlet, stitched with white. When wrapped together it was no larger
than a cylindrical nutmeg-grater; and it was of such marvelous potency
in repairing rips and rents, that I herewith state my belief that, if
my mother simply sat in the room with it, it could keep house itself."





Hartford, Conn. Columbian Book Company. 1872

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
–Kathryn Schulz

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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