Thursday, December 20, 2007

Word of the Day: Hoydenish

I'm rolling around in the old etiquette books this morning and came across this term:Hoydenish.Not surprisingly, the author of Etiquette for Americans (1909) was recommending that her readers avoid "hoydenish or romping habits" if they wanted to be treated civilly in public. (p. 199)What I find interesting about this word is that it is (er, was... Encarta labels it as "dated") gender- and age-specific. To speak of a hoyden was to refer only to a young woman who demonstrated self-absorbed or thoughtless behavior. But that the word was synonymous with "tomboy" suggests that one of the ways that women might be perceived as lacking appropriate self-control or being thoughtless was in not properly performing their gender roles.
Since I aspire to be a "high-spirited, boisterous, or saucy girl," I think I'll reclaim this word that used to be considered an insult. And in the meantime, I'm going to cultivate my hoydenishness now by raiding the cookie tin and finishing off the coffee.... Okay, that's a little timid, but it is only 10:00am. Just you wait!
Posted by Zoe the Wonder Dog at Thursday, December 20, 2007

Daye said...
you rowdy and mischievous thing you!
December 21, 2007 10:52 AM

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