To my fellow word nerds,
If you listen to podcasts, A Way With Words is definitely one of my faves and I recommend it to anyone who loves learning word origins and new words.
A Way with Words is a fun and funny radio show and podcast about language. Co-hosts Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett talk with callers from around the world about linguistics, slang, new words, jokes, riddles, word games, grammar, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, books, literature, folklore, and speaking and writing well. Email your language questions for the show to email@example.com. Or call with your questions toll-free *any* time in the U.S. and Canada at (877) 929-9673. From anywhere in the world: +1 (619) 800-4443. Hear all past shows for free: http://waywordradio.org/. Also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wayword.
The word puss has two separate meanings, one in reference to a cat and the other in reference to the face. The origins of puss as a cat appears to have been borrowed from Middle Low German pūs. However, it may have originated from the calling of cats, saying Psss! to get their attention.
Puss used as slang for mouth or face comes from the Irish bus, meaning lip or mouth.
Other lesser known usages of puss include:
- An informal reference to a woman or girl, used affectionately. I personally would hate to be called a puss because of its similarity to pussy (see below).
- Apparently the Brits also use it to mean a hare (a.k.a. rabbit). They call pretty much everything by weird names, but we’ll save that discussion for another time.
For those of you with your minds in the gutter, the word pussy also has two meanings, one in reference to a cat and the other to a woman’s naughty bits. Pussy as cat comes from the Old English pusa, meaning bag – which if you ask me, sounds closer to the other definition of pussy. Pusa was also used to refer to anything soft and cuddly – closer to a cat, but you be the judge of that.
Pussy meaning cunt may come from the Low German pūse (meaning vulva) or the Old Norse púss (meaning pocket or pouch). You could also use it as a reference to a woman, if you’re not being very polite.
So go out there and punch that puss in the puss with a pussy. Or not. You know, whatever suits your fancy. I don’t mean to be offensive here, but words tend to twist and turn their way from polite to crude in an instant.
- Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins
- Dictionary of Word Origins: The Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words
Note about photo: This is a picture of my ex-roommate’s cat Gizmo, who is a main coon with really creepy toddler-sized eyes.
I dreamt of lemon mousse tarts, Lucille Ball
And sweet-hearted redheads, girls I once called friends.
With my warrants paid, I’m finally free and
Pleased to go home in my black velvet dress,
Back to 1996 and memories.
Modern women argue with our dental insurance and volunteer
For Wisconsin nonprofits, shunning prophets-for-profits.
We take care of things, realising
Flooding facebook with chain letters is no kind of protest.
Us witches craft signs and flaunt ourselves out on the lawn
In front of white government buildings.
So here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. You live in an unforgiving place.
Drink wine to forget all the pain, all the laughing.
They fluff your dress, fix your lipgloss,
And as you get sloshed they choose a jukebox tune
You never wanted to listen to.
Later, coherent but cranky, you ask for coffee.
I broadcast my problems on social media,
Seven black and white photos of my life.
The internet explodes my brain with the powers that be.
I pretend this day doesn’t exist.
My little sister ain’t little no more. She’s already learning
What it means to be.
Stop by and keep me busy.
Kick me while I’m on the ground already.
How could you ever want to date me?
When I met you, you asked me not to
Go into labor during your anti-bullying presentation.
It just didn’t – feel right
But I guess you’re not a little boy anymore.
I hope for my future daughter’s looks,
She should be beautiful and therefore respected
Able to hold her own at only eight weeks old.
For now, I’ll hide in my pillow pile until tomorrow
Wondering when and if my thoughts will ever be complete.
Note: This is a Facebook Poem – think magnetic poetry with social media. Of course, I mold and shape it to fit my purpose but the original inspiration is my friends’ status posts from October 21, 2017.
I have always been an amateur etymologist, but I strive to be more academic in my endeavors. Today I’m looking for resources at the library and more reputable websites – no more urban dictionary and rube theories on ask.com! I might include them for giggles but that’s really not really what I’m going for. So, my fellow word nerds, this is also a call for recommended sources if you have any.
So tired of being an afterthought that my head hurts!
If you ever wanted to buy my love, an SNES Classic would do nicely.
Thinking of going to the Uptown block party this afternoon –
Go Band and Go Blue! Not going to mention how humble I am.
Kapernick and the NFL kneelers now have everyone’s attention,
But it’s like beating a dead horse.
Tell me about your favorite picture books to teach empathy and respect.
Theon Greyjoy killed his fucking dog, let’s see who follows him.
People expecting the world to change overnight are the same people
That pour KoolAid in the ocean. What’s Step 2 of this plan?
Geek out with mind blowing prints (a sight to see, I tell ya).
I truly hope everyone finds someone in life that makes them feel the way
Albert makes me a better person.
Awesomeness met in rainbows before class started today
If you ever shop on Amazon, you need to see this:
Wicket can hardly handle the excitement over his monthly delivery of fun.
The flash sale was small, but I am super excited that students showed up
And didn’t want to leave.
I love hearing I don’t look 50 years old!
Woot! The day is mine again!
Anyone else going? CCHS Homecoming Weekend festivities today.
I miss you and expect you to change color like a Mystery of the Universe.
What is it about me that makes many seemingly sane women lose their shit?
I know I’m pretty, and I’m a tiger in the sack.
Thanks Katie for being my date – much prefer this to a hospital bed
I know I’ve had a long one. Thanks, world, for loving me.
Working all night behind the bar, stop in and try one of the 62 different beers here.
Labor laws are cool, but mandatory midday work meetings
Leave me pretty exhausted.
I’ve been pretty much done nothing but school stuff since Wednesday.
My wit, humor, and joie de vivre can’t hurt either.
It was a blast drinking spiced cider in the backyard while my dude worked
Eleven years ago today, I was breaking in the wedding heels
By walking around the house in them while nursing
Fire at my place tonight if anyone is looking.
Facebook status poem 10/1/2017
Like most commonly used phrases, no one is sure exactly where “slap me silly” came from, but my amateur sleuthing has uncovered a few possibilities. One thing is for certain: it most likely originates from our linguistically creative cousins in the talkative Down South. I found a few articles about this which also included several other colorful southern-isms. But let’s stick with this one for now.
“Slap me silly” appears to be one of many variations of the more well-known “Slap my ass and call me Sally.” I don’t know who this Sally person is, but she must be into some BDSM! For giggles, here are a few more variations. The common theme among these is the grammatical structure of “[verb] my [body part] and call me [noun or proper noun].” The phrases are all used to express a reaction of surprise or astonishment. Below are a few of the more creative ones:
- Paint me green and call me a cucumber.
- Slap me with bread and call me a sandwich.
- Pin my tail and call me a donkey.
- Fry me in butter and call me a catfish.
- Saddle my back and call me a horse!
- Well knock me down and steal my teeth!
Some of these are decidedly more amusing than others, but you get the point. For more Southern-isms, check out this article, which will have you rolling, or at least scratching your head.
On a side note, I must also mention Mike Lange, who is an ice hockey play-by-play broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. As an avid Chicago Blackhawks fan, the last thing I want to do is draw attention to the Penguins, but this guy also has some fun variations, from “Get in the fast lane, Grandma, the bingo game’s ready to roll!” to “Scratch my back with a hacksaw!” I stumbled upon Langeisms while searching for “slap me silly” (a phrase he also uses frequently), and there are plenty more of his fun phrases here.
I also happened upon a cool blog during my search that I’ve decided to follow: Strong Language (A Sweary Blog About Swearing).
Thanks for reading, and let me know if there are any other phrases you want to know more about. I am definitely not a professional at this whole etymology thing (but I’m smart enough to use a fancy word like etymology). And I like this stuff because I’m a huge word nerd.