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From earlier hussive, hussif, the regular evolution of Middle English huswif (housewife), equivalent to house +‎ wife. Modern English housewife is a restoration of the compound (and thus is a doublet), after its component parts had become unrecognisable through purely regular phonetic change.



hussy (plural hussies)

  1. (obsolete) A housewife or housekeeper.
  2. A cheeky or disrespectful girl; a woman showing inappropriate or improper behavior; a minx.
    • 1879, Richard Jefferies, The Amateur Poacher, chapter1:
      Molly the dairymaid came a little way from the rickyard, and said she would pluck the pigeon that very night after work. She was always ready to do anything for us boys; and we could never quite make out why they scolded her so for an idle hussy indoors. It seemed so unjust. Looking back, I recollect she had very beautiful brown eyes.
  3. (obsolete) A case or bag for needles, thread, etc.


  • (cheeky, disrespectful girl or woman): bitch