"wuss"--possible etymology

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Fri Feb 4 03:03:26 UTC 2000

   Robin Peters sent an interesting Feb. 3 message:

>I believe there was a character called "wuss" (spelling?) on the 1960s
>children's television show Lorenzo the Clown.  Wuss was a puppet of a cat and
>was always afraid to try new things.
------Can anyone verify this?  If there was in fact a fearful cat-puppet
named "Wuss," I can see a posssible etymology: "wuss" from childish
"pussy-wussy".  For similar  childish reduplication with  -w-, cf.

      And for the emergence of the second part of a childish reduplication
into an independent word,  cf.  the nicknames for "Margaret" (Peg, Peggy),
which must have arisen from a childish reduplication "Meggy-Peggy"; "Meg"
is the Scottish form of "Margaret."  And for childish reduplication with
-p-, cf. "Georgie-Porgie" and "Namby-Pamby."

----Gerald Cohen

gcohen at umr.edu

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