pussycat

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pussycat

Post by Archived Topic » Wed Jun 09, 2004 3:37 pm

My eight-year old asked me the other day, "why do we call cats, pussycats"? Good question, I thought, but I couldn't answer it. Can you?
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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 3:51 pm

Looks like PUSSY evolved approximately from vulva, to pouch, to bag, to anything soft and cuddly, to house cat (~1575), and back full circle to the other pussy (~1875)while still maintaining the PUSSYCAT.
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Random house Unabridged:
pussy n., pl. pussies.
1. a cat, esp. a kitten.

[1575-85; PUSS + -Y]
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pussy n., pl. -sies. Slang (vulgar).
1. the vulva.
2. sexual intercourse.
[1875-80; perhaps from the Dutch, a dim. of 'poes' vulva, akin to LG pusse vulva, OE pusa bag; see PURSE]
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American Heritage:

puss-y-cat n.
1. A cat.
2. Informal. One who is regarded as easygoing, mild-mannered, or amiable.
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Merriam-Websters Unabridged:

Etymology: earlier 'puss' vulva (perhaps of Low German or Scandinavian origin) + -y, diminutive suffix; akin to Old Norse 'puss' pocket, pouch, Icelandic 'pussa' vulva, Low German 'puse' vulva, Old English 'pusa,' 'posa' bag, Greek 'byein' to stuff, plug

1 : female genitals; especially : VULVA — usually considered vulgar
2 : SEXUAL INTERCOURSE — usually considered vulgar
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Morris Dictionary of Word And Phrase Origins:

PUSSY as a name for a pet came from the Old English word 'pusa,' meaning 'bag.' Intime pusa' came to be used for anything soft and cuddly — a description that could fit most house cats [and possibly THE PUTTIN TAME]
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Barnhardt Concise Dictionaryof Etymology:

PUSS noun cat. Before 1530, a coinventional name for a cat, common to several Germanic languages (compare Dutch 'poes,' Low German 'pus,' 'pus-katte¡', Norwegin 'puse,' 'pus,'— PUSSY noun 1726, diminutive of 'pus¡' — PUSSYFOOT verb (1903) — PUSSY WILLOW (1869)
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Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, Colorado — U.S.A.)
4/15/02
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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 4:05 pm

Sorry for the strange symbols 'Y' with a double strike, and others. Have no idea why that happened. File looks perfectly normal on this end.

Ken
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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 4:20 pm

Maybe you just have a yen for symbolism, Ken (or should I be calling you 'Zen')? *G*
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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 4:34 pm

Thanks for the information. Now, how to tell my son???
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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 4:49 pm

If you're too embarrassed to tell him from your own lips, I suggest you print out Ken's explanation and tell your son, "Hey, I asked about 'pussycat' for you on the internet and this is the reply I got." Then place the printout on the table next to a dictionary and leave the room for a while. When you return he may or may not have looked up 'vulva', 'genitals' and 'sexual intercourse'.

Either way, his original question will have been answered to his satisfaction.
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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 5:03 pm

Just tell him it came from an old Norse word for a bag or something soft. He'll probably get the full explanation in 4th or 5th grade. *G*
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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 5:17 pm

How about "pussy willow"?

Also, how about "dust pussy" (what my mother (born 1937)
called a dust bunny once (and never again...)).

The commonality seems to be softness or furri-/fuzziness.

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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 5:32 pm

I remember once reading about a group of dancers. I think they were sisters, who used to do a sort of can-can or provocative routine. They were said to have hidden kittens in their skirts, hence, see her, well... you get it.
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pussycat

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 5:46 pm

pussy
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Re: pussycat

Post by charlemagne96 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:10 pm

According to http://www.moggies.co.uk/whycat.html, Why is a Cat called a Cat?
"The Egyptians also provide us with an explanation of why we call a cat puss or pussy, these being variations of the name of the early Egyptian cat goddess, Bast (pronounced Pasht)."

My 3 year old asked me this question, so of course I looked online (haha). This article makes the most sense to me. I hope anyone else searching for the answer to this question will read the article.

the more you know.....
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Re: pussycat

Post by trolley » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:00 pm

When we were kids, my mum used "puss" to refer to a face, especially an unhappy one.
"Don't give me that puss."
"Don't sit there with that puss on (your face)."
"I could have smacked him right in the puss."
I hadn't heard it used that way in many years until a couple of weeks ago. Some guy said it on TV.
"...and then she got a puss on." (he sounded like a New Yorker)
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