Printable Version
Pronunciation: hêz-bên-dri Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: 1. Conservation, the careful management of money or other resources. 2. Scientific farm management, especially the management of farm animals.

Notes: Women are probably surprised to discover that today's word doesn't mean lounging around watching football in order to avoid household chores. Husbandry, to tell the truth, is something women are often better at than men. This Good Word derives not from the noun, husband, but from the verb, to husband "to conserve, to spend judiciously, to scrimp", as to husband one's money or time.

In Play: You might try this word in lieu of more grating ones in this manner: "Your husbandry of the truth makes me much less susceptible to persuasion." There are so many places where that expression works. Remember, anything considered a resource that is easily overspent, may (and should) be husbanded, "Ivan Oder can't understand why his wife husbands her affection for him so." (Can you?)

Word History: This very Good Word originated as Old English husbonda, one of many words snitched from Old Norse. This one was originally husbondi "freeholder, peasant with his own farm", a compound noun made up of hus "house" + bondi "estate owner", the present participle of bua "to have a household". This is where the meaning of "to manage a farm" originated. The Old Norse-speaking Vikings who invaded England in the 9th-11th centuries century often took Anglo-Saxon wives. These women proudly referred to their men as land-owners. Other women later stretched the truth until the meaning of the noun husband changed but not that of the verb. Curious, eh what?

Dr. Goodword,

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