On the Word “Woman”

Today, I read a post by my friend Jo Bryant: MARRIAGE PART I, II, III, & IV…  

It was humorous reading and gave me a chuckle or two. I even left a few comments in which I used the play on words between HIStory & HERstory.

But the concept surrounding who GOD created first, woman or man, hung around me for the rest of the day.

Moving on, I began some late cleaning up, late owing to procrastination versus being late in my day. And lo and behold, I came across an email I’d received on July 25th back in 2002. (OK, okay, so now you know I don’t play when it comes to procrastinating…LOL!)

What I happened across marveled me as it seemed a fitting testimony that synchronicity was in play, for here’s the content of that email:

A dictionary of Euphemisms and Other Doubletalk, by Hugh Rawson, has this (among other things to say about the word “woman”:

“Woman” itself has a curious history, which may be of some consolation to female readers, since it shows that they are not, linguistically at least, derivatives of the other sex.

“Woman,” superficial appearance to the contrary, does not come from “man,” but from the Old English “wif-mann,” where “wif” meant “female” and “mann” meant a human being of either sex.

As late as 1752, the philosopher David Hume could use “man” in  the original sense, when contending that “…there is in all men, both male and female, a desire and power of generation more active than is ever universally exerted.”

What happened as the language evolved, of course, was that males gradually arrogated the generic “mann” to themselves, while the old word for female, “wif,” was diminished into wife.”

Ok, the gauntlet’s been thrown ;-D


About emanita01

I am a Franco-american woman who hails from Massachusetts. I live in France near the Swiss border, only minutes away from Geneva. I am a member of the Geneva Writers Group and the Association La Forge, a literary group based in France. I write stories, poems and am currently working on a couple of plays, a one-woman show and a dramatized poem.
This entry was posted in A Masculine Point of View, Fodder for Thought and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to On the Word “Woman”

  1. Jo Bryant says:

    and you throw it with so much style and grace dearest Em

  2. hughrawson says:

    I thought that I was the one who tossed the gauntlet. No credit for the guy?!?
    Hugh R

  3. emanita01 says:

    LOL! Hi there & welcome ;-D

    For the record, I wrote “Ok, the gauntlet’s been thrown ;-D”,
    not that I’d thrown it…LOL!

    But I did accept Jo’s comments with grace (or so I hope)…LOL!
    So, Hear Ye! Hear Ye ! … let me make amends here:

    Let ALL Gauntlet Throwing Credit herewith be accredited to ye, Sir Hugh R. !

    LOL! thanks for popping in ;-D

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