Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 1 00:46:19 UTC 2000

On Mon, 31 Jan 2000, Dennis R. Preston wrote:

> Greg is right for my memory. I didn't hear it as a kid, but first heard it
> in the early 60's as "wussy," only later as "wuss," and assumed it was a
> transparent euphemism for "pussy," which fits the sense as well as the
> sound.

The earliest citation I have found is the following, which also sheds
light on the etymology of the word:

1981 Cameron Crowe _Fast Times at Ridgemont High_ 57  "You ought to meet
her first, you wuss."  ("Wussy" was a particularly expressive word that
had sprung up in Paul Revere Junior High and taken a foothold in the
Ridgemont lexicon.  It was the handy combination of _wimp_ and _pussy_.)

Fred R. Shapiro                             Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
Associate Librarian for Public Services     TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
Yale Law School                             Oxford University Press, 1998
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               ISBN 0-19-509547-2

More information about the Ads-l mailing list