Wuss; Clothes horse

Joe Pickett Joe_Pickett at HMCO.COM
Wed Feb 2 16:52:45 UTC 2000

Just to bolster the legitimacy of my original observation as not just another
vague recollection.

I remember the exact situation in which I heard wuss used, not for the very
first time, since I had heard the word used before, but it was one of the
earliest times I encountered the word.

I was sitting at a dining room table at a friend's house in Ann Arbor in the
spring of 1976, playing on the stereo was Bob Dylan's "Desire" album (1975), and
the person who used the word was a New Zealander (Richard Thomas, a grad student
in the classics department), who was standing at the end of the table. He said
exactly "Susan is a wuss," though I don't remember exactly why she was a wuss.
I remember that he smiled in delight at using this word, what was for me and I
believe for him a vogue American slang word.

That's why I think the word probably dates from the early to mid-70s, though I
grant that it could have been used earlier in another region or could have led
an underground life for quite a long time.

Still, I agree with Dennis that information like this should not be discounted
out of hand but considered as part of the mix.

Joe Pickett

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