_Hussif_: this meaning may not be in the OED

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Nov 29 16:03:57 UTC 2010

It is in the on-line OED (from 2nd ed., 1989):

housewife, n.
3. Usually ({sm}h{revv}z{shti}f). A pocket-case
for needles, pins, thread, scissors, etc. (In
this sense still often spelt huswife, hussive.)
1749 P. SKELTON Deism Revealed viii. (T.),
Women..spending their time in knotting, or making
an housewife. ... 1768 {emem} Sent. Journ. (1775)
I. 112 (Temptation) [She] without saying a word,
took out her little hussive, threaded a small
needle, and sewed it up. 1851 D. JERROLD St.
Giles xv. 158 He placed a little silken huswife
in her trembling hand. ... 1871 CARLYLE in Mrs.
C.'s Lett. I. 161 She tried anxiously all her ‘hussives’, boxes, drawers.

"hussif" is given as an alternate spelling for
the 1900s, but the OED does not contain any
instances.  Perhaps because one sees in crossword puzzles only "etui".


At 11/28/2010 06:22 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
>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

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

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