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)
- (obsolete) A housewife or housekeeper.
- A sexually immoral woman.
- A cheeky or disrespectful girl; a woman showing inappropriate or improper behavior; a minx.
- 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175:
- 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.
- (obsolete) A case or bag for needles, thread, etc.