gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sun Feb 13 22:41:51 UTC 2000
In a Feb. 3 message I suggested that "wuss" (also attested as "wussy")
may derive from childish "pussy-wussy." I came up with this suggestion
after an ADS-L member drew attention to a fearful cat-puppet named "Wuss"
(1960's children's show Lorenzo the Clown).
Since then there have been two developments;
1) Barry Popik has written to the International Clown Hall of Fame to
verify the existence of the fearful cat-puppet "Wuss" on the Lorenzo the
Clown show. He expects a reply soon.
2) The suggestion of "wuss" deriving from "pussy-wussy" turns out to have
already been advanced, although with no mention of the cat-puppet Wuss:
Tony Thorne, _The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang_, NY: Pantheon Books,
"WUSS, noun, American
1. a weak, feeble person, and by extension a dupe. A word used by college
students and young people from the 1960s and probably inspired by 'puss',
'pussy' or 'pussy-wussy', used as a term of endearment to a kitten."
---Incidentally, Thorne (_ibid._) then gives a second meaning of "wuss":
"in Swansea and other parts of Wales, the word wuss is commonly heard as
a synonym for mate or buddy. This is a shortening and anglicization of the
Welsh GWAS meaning servant.
[example]: 'Hiya wuss. How's it going?'"
A few days ago Joan Hall asked about a little-used term "wooch" (=
servant). Maybe (and of course it's only maybe) this "wooch" is related to
the "wuss" (=servant) just above.
gcohen at umr.edu
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