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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:48 pm

• he-man •

Pronunciation: hee-mæn • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A manly, virile man, a strong man with well-developed muscles who avoids anything suggesting femininity (such as quiche).

Notes: Today's Good Word is odd in several ways. First, it is a compound noun containing a pronoun, something frowned upon by English grammar. Only a few such words exist and they are rather peripheral: she-wolf and she-goat appear often enough, though he-wolf and he-goat are rarely encountered. Moreover, there is no she-man or even she-woman (what would that be?) The plural is, as expected, he-men.

In Play: He-men are not guys; they are generally perceived to be tougher than guys: "Jim Nasium was denied membership in the motorcycle gang because he wasn't enough of a he-man." Jim used a church key rather than his teeth to open his beer bottles. There are things we can do with this word, though: "Marilyn Baltimore wanted a moral rather than a physical he-man for a husband."

Word History: He is the descendant of the Old English word for "this". In Old English the third person pronouns were gender variants of the word for "this": he was "this (masculine)", hio "this (feminine), hit "this" (neuter). These forms evolved into today's he, she, and it. The original Proto-Indo-European root underlying he was ko-/ke- "this", which also went on to become Latin cis "this". With the suffix -otor it became kotoryi "which" in Russian and the cetera of et cetera "and the-rest" in Latin. Man turns up in several Indo-European languages, including German Mann and, with a suffix, Mensch "human". This word was borrowed (but not returned) by English via Yiddish as mensch "decent person". In the Slavic languages it picked up a similar suffix, but lost the N, becoming muzh "husband" and muzhik "peasant" in Russian. (Now we should thank he-man Phil Anders for suggesting today's manly Good Word.)
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Postby call_copse » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:19 am

Interesting word today. Whilst it is distinctly masculine I'd probably recoil slightly from being thusly tagged. I guess perhaps that may be the mildly camp cartoon show or perhaps just the kind of 'retrosexual' dinosaur overtones - different interpretations, neither of which I'd ache to be associated with.

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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:44 am

There may be a need to distinguish a he-man from a pantywaist. But there may not. I certainly do no consider myself to be either. A man should feel good about being a man, and a woman should feel good about being a woman. According to one's culture, there may be some role differences between men and women. Any culture that pits male against female or denies woman full equality with man should be reformed. There is an American "news commentator", and I use this phrase in the loosest way possible, whose use of a word I suppose he coined, feminazi, is well known. Such ranting is evil. I appreciate the Good Doctor's bringing this word to our attention since it is a word in our language. I suggest we put the word he-man in the garbage dump of inappropriate words.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:23 pm

I agree - dump it.
I was picked on for being a 'shrimp', 'runt', and every other
term, and in high school it really 'hurt'.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Postby Slava » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:38 pm

Pantywaist, now there's one I haven't come across in a long, long time.

The modern US take I believe comes from The Arnold: girlie-men.
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