FISHWIFE

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Dr. Goodword
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FISHWIFE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:31 am

• fishwife •

Pronunciation: fish-wayf • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: No, even if you married a cold fish, you are not a fishwife. You are, however, if you are 1. a woman who sells fish or 2. a woman who uses coarse, vulgar language.

Notes: The plural of this Good Word is 'semiregular': fishwives. It is regular because, like similar nouns, life : lives, hoof : hooves, the [f] becomes [v] in the plural. However, not all nouns that end on [f] change it to [v] in the plural, e.g. fife : fifes, roof : roofs, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are not the Maple Leaves. So the plural of today's word is regular and irregular at the same time.

In Play: Back in the days of Billingsgate, women who sold fish acquired the reputation of using abusive language. I suppose smelling fish all day could have that effect on anyone. In fact, women who sell fish are not called fishwives anymore, but the reputation of their name carries forward: "When I told her that her son would be working for mine someday, she turned and left, swearing like a fishwife."

Word History: The historical question raised by this Good Word is: why did female fish-peddlars have to be married? In fact, they didn't. In Old English, wif meant simply "woman". Woman, in fact, derives from Old English wifman "a woman person" (as opposed to a wæpen-man "weapon person" = a man). So, the original meaning of fishwife was simply "fish woman", paralleling German Weib and Dutch wijf, which also mean simply "woman". (Today's Good Word comes from a woman person by the name of Rachel Keller, otherwise known as Pooky Zoo in the Alpha Agora.)
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Enigma
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Postby Enigma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:30 am

And you've reached rock bottom, I suppose, when you marry a woman who sells fish using coarse language.

Think of the smell she would bring home, too!
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle

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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:33 pm

How stone-cold you can be, enigma.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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saparris
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Postby saparris » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:28 pm

I think you're reached rock bottom when you marry a woman who uses coarse language and refuses to work. At least a fishwife is bringing home the bacon, which probably smells like cod.

And what about fishmongers? Are they all male?
Last edited by saparris on Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Enigma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:01 pm

Bacon or not, one can only live on fish for so long. An influx of omega 3 could be detrimental to your health.

And if you eat too much fish, you may even start growing gills and a tail, and then your wife may try and sell you. I heard of a guy who had this happen to him, ya know.
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle

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saparris
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Postby saparris » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:25 pm

And if you eat too much fish, you may even start growing gills and a tail, and then your wife may try and sell you. I heard of a guy who had this happen to him, ya know.
I have no value--not even for a trade-in.
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Postby Enigma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:50 pm

Come on, Sap! The glass of milk (or fish juice) is half full!
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle

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saparris
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Postby saparris » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:40 pm

If it's fish juice, I'll have my glass completely empty, thanks.
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Postby Enigma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:56 pm

I can't blame you there.
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle

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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:00 pm

Saparris cannot sing either, no scales.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Postby Enigma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:06 pm

There's something fishy going on here. Ha ha ha.

That joke stinks as badly as a fishwife
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle

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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:16 pm

Every once in a great while I make a pun, but so seldom
as to be unnoticed. I'll agree it stinks, like all puns.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:19 pm

Saparris cannot sing either, no scales.
I can sing out of tuna.

(Now that's a bad pun!)
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Postby Enigma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:38 pm

It's still better than mine. But you can't blame me for being woeful-- I've tried resisting any urge to make a pun my whole life.
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle

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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:51 pm

The out of tuna one is SAP'S, But it is under my name
for some reason, he tried to explain it, but I don't
understand. Not computer savvy.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----


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