I Love Little Pussy

Ronald Butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Mon Mar 12 02:22:53 UTC 2012

Jonathan, please do a Google search for "I love my pussy cat." There are many, many examples among the 51,000 hits of adults using this phrase about their feline pets in a totally innocent way.

There are other examples of women using "pussycat" to refer to their boyfriends in a totally positive way.

I agree that "pussy" without "cat" is likely to be problematical unless the context is totally clear (and probably archaic: Ding dong bell). That is obviously why the children's song was changed to "kitty." (Just as people stopped saying "coney" and started saying "rabbit"?)  But not "pussycat."

I wonder if Streisand will start singing, "Isn't it strange, isn't it weird, you on the ground, me in the air"?

On Mar 11, 2012, at 4:00 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> Truly pathetic.
> These exx. are either from many years ago or entirely irrelevant (like
> Pussy Galore, who was not a feline).  And if "pussy" is always accepted as
> innocent, why wasn't it "Josie and the Pussies"?
> _Pussy_ 'coward; weakling' has strongly sexual/sexist overtones and always
> has, in my experience. That's not to say that some benighted souls don't
> derive it from "pussycat." But it will be a long time before you hear a
> public figure use it before a crowd, IMO.  ("Wimp," of course, is fine.)
> To restate the point: it is no longer customary in my experience for adults
> to refer to cats affectionately (at least within the hearing of other
> people) as "pussies" or "pussycats." The words they prefer are "kitties"
> and "kitty-cats."  Or "puddies" or  "puddy-tats."
> For obvious reasons.
> Ask a vet.
> JL
> On Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 3:46 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: I Love Little Pussy
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ... as is Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) where I watched it not
>> six months ago.
>> There's also the absolutely awful Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You (1970)
>> and the silly Josie and the Pussycats (2001) which is usually played on
>> regular cable channels, such as TBS, not the "classic" ones. A number of
>> French, German and Japanese films were also translated with "Pussycat"
>> in the title, but that's secondary.
>> And don't forget cartoons, particularly Pizzicato Pussycat.
>> As for straight "pussy" puns, aside from Are You Being Served ("It
>> appears Mrs. Slocum has lost her pussy"), there is also the skit in one
>> of the Austin Powers movies (perhaps even more than one)--which is a
>> direct riff on Bond (and not just Pussy Galore--"Right idea, wrong
>> pussy, Mr. Bond.").
>>    VS-)
>> On 3/11/2012 3:14 PM, Ronald Butters wrote:
>>> ...
>>> What's New, Pussycat? was a 1965 film that is surely still seen on TCM.
>>> ...
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list