Prissy

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Dr. Goodword
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Prissy

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:12 pm

• prissy •


Pronunciation: pris-i • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Overly prim and proper, priggish, slightly uptight and girly, supercilious in an effeminate manner.

Notes: This mildly pejorative epithet is treated as a native English word in that its adverb is prissily and noun, prissiness. A personal noun, priss, as in 'little Miss Priss', was back-formed from the adjective in the 1920s. If you want a word with a bit more negativity, prissified awaits your disposition.

In Play: Only women and effeminate men may be prissy: "Helen Highwater chafed at her prissy schoolmarm who wore too much pink for a biology teacher." It has been tried from time to time on objects rather than people: "Harwood didn't like the prissy bar with all its 'beautiful people', dressed in the latest Hollywood fashions, sipping their cocktails, and talking about the latest styles."

Word History: No one knows where today's Good Word came from. It probably arose from a Southern US dialect since it was first attested in an 1842 article in the New Orleans Picayune. It might be a mispronunciation of precise or pristine like cuss. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests it might be a blend of prim and sissy. Who knows? (Now let's thank again Daniel Obertance for recommending today's glistening Good Word with a foggy origin.)
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Philip Hudson
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Re: Prissy

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:44 pm

I have a kin of kin friend named Priscilla Jane. Her mother frequently called her Prissy Jane. Kin of kin is a new kind of relationship pioneered by GENI the World Family Tree. In this case Priscilla Jane is my cousin's cousin. I have more known blood kin than I can say grace over. I am third cousin to Truman Capote. That is of doubtful merit since I am not a fan of his. I am fifth cousin to Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash and about 10th cousin to Jimmy Carter. But then almost everyone in the South is 10th cousin to Jimmy Carter. It comes free with having Strother ancestors. Via GENI one is kin of kin to just about everybody. If anyone in Alpha Agora land wants to compare family trees for possible relationships, e-mail me at hudsonpw@tx.rr.com.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

David Myer
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Re: Prissy

Postby David Myer » Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:28 am

Very impressive Philip. You have several strong claims to fame there. Your word Strother intrigued me. A 'damp land overgrown with brushwood' according to my internet search, and so to a surname.

Far from being prissy, my neighbour, four doors down is, I have recently discovered, a fifth cousin, twice removed. But then with 64 great great great great grandparents, I suppose I must have a very large number of 5th cousins. If each pair of parents has say two children on average (and in the 1800s of course there were often many more) the average person could expect to have 4896 fifth cousins. Well thanks Philip, I now feel heavily burdened with unknown family connections.

Philip Hudson
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Posts: 2338
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: Prissy

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Oct 24, 2020 3:24 am

My Strother ancestors lived on the Rappahannock River next to the Washington family. It was there that George Washington didn't toss a coin over the Rappahannock and didn't cut down a cherry tree. Prior to the Washington's owning Ferry Farm, it belonged to my Strother ancestors. It is now the site of an archeological dig.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.


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