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#133535 - 09/28/04 04:47 AM pussycat, pussycat, where did you come from?
sjmaxq Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 3230
Loc: Te Ika a Maui
Where di "pussy" for "cat" come from. My Merriam-Webster lists it as appearing around 1726, but gives no etymology, and neither does the AHD online. An Indo-Fijian friend staying with me at present tried to tell me that "pussy" is a Hindi word for cat, but "billi" is the only word that I find in the Hindi dictionaries and wordlists I have available, and none of them list "pussy", or any likely progenitor thereof, as a word at all. I figure he's just yanking my chain, but it got me wondering where the word comes from. The etymology of the less-refined, anatomical, meaning of "pussy" is very detailed, but not that for the simple cat's tale.

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noho ora mai
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#133536 - 09/28/04 09:10 AM Re: pussycat, pussycat, where did you come from?
jheem Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1474
Loc: California
The OED 1st ed. suggests that pussy is a diminutive formation of puss. For the latter, though it notes that cognate call-name forms eixst in Germanic and even Baltic languages, no etymology is known. English has extended puss and pussy(cat) from a call-name to a noun for the animal.


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#133537 - 09/28/04 10:07 AM Re: pussycat, pussycat, where did you come from?
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
Looked in all my old and esoteric references - no joy!
All I have to contribute to this erudite discussion is that, in Hawaiian, cat is "popoki." Legend says the first cat that came to the islands with the missionaries, staggered about as it tried to get its "land legs" and the owner said "Poor pussy" - thus Popoki.


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#133538 - 09/28/04 02:12 PM Re: pussycat, pussycat, where did you come from?
sjmaxq Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 3230
Loc: Te Ika a Maui
>no etymology is known.

Thanks, jheem. I guess this one goes in my collection, along with fiasco.

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noho ora mai
http://maxqnzs.com/References.html

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#133539 - 09/28/04 03:01 PM Mystery solved
Father Steve Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/06/00
Posts: 2788
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
I think it comes from the 1965 Woody Allen movie "What's new, Pussycat?" Allen wrote the script and appears with Peter O'Toole and Peter Sellers. The theme song, of the same name, was composed by Burt Bacharach with lyrics by Hal David and sung by Tom Jones. All previous uses of this term were merely prescient.




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#133540 - 09/28/04 03:30 PM Re: Mystery solved
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
wo-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh...

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#133541 - 09/28/04 08:00 PM Yuck!
Father Steve Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/06/00
Posts: 2788
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
"You're delicious
And if my wishes
Can all come true
I'll soon be kissing your sweet little pussycat lips!"




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#133542 - 09/30/04 06:52 PM Re: Yuck!
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
If you want to get a cat's attention try calling very softly "Psss psss psss". It sounds like a mouse and gets a much quicker response than using their name. Maybe that's where puss(y) came from.


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