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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Hussy, Husy, n. Also: hwsy, -ie, , hussey, , hwssé; houssie; hissé, hizzie. [Reduced form of huswif, houswife, Hous n. 4, = e.m.E. hussy (1647) in sense 3.]

1. A housewife. Also qualified by evil (ill). c1420 Wynt. v. 5090.
Spend but sparyng may hyr spows, Swa huld a hwsy [C. husy] that can hows
15.. Wyf Awchtirm. 20.
Dame, ȝe mon to the pluch to morne; I salbe hussy gif I may
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 16.
Ane rackles hussie makis monie theifis
Ib. No. 951.
Litl wots ane evil hussie quhat a good denner holds in

b. Of cloth or garments: Of husy making, of hussy mak, as made by the housewife for family use. 1478 Acta Aud. 67/1.
A courche of braid clath, a courche of husymaking
Ib. 82/1.
A pare of schetis of husy making
15.. Aberd. B. Rec. MS. XVI (J).
Ane pair of schetis of ten elne of hussy mak

2. The mistress of a household; (a servant's, employee's, or pet animal's) mistress. 1500 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 78.
That na servand bye nor tak na maner of stufe of clething … without the maister or husy … haif knawlege thairof
1530 Ib. II. 25.
[Those that] has fe seruitrice that browis apone thar awin awentur and gyfis ane certane of ilk broust to thair hussy
Ib. 30.
That … na seruandis wemen tak vther claithis than thair masteris and husseis [supra hussis] … to wesche
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3238.
This saw the py … Quhat mirrines that hir husie was at
1565 Inverness B. Rec. I. 122.
Catheryne Browne … for the … blude drawing of hyr hussye to be put in the brankis
1575 Rep. Hist. MSS., Varr. Coll. V. 99.
Maistres, my hwse, Lady Glorat, hes send me to yow
1590 Crim. Trials I. ii. 207.
Seing that the guid-wyffe thy hussie sould haif detenit the puir woman
1621 Brechin Test. IV. 20.
Hir kist quhilk scho gatt frome Katheringe Jack hir hussie in bountay lange syne
1633 Orkney Bishop Ct. 89 b.
Ȝe inquyrit of hir how hir hussie Cristane Mowad did

3. A derogatory term for a woman or girl: a woman of low character or of the lower orders, a wanton, a wench.(a) 1505 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 107.
Ony maner of vagabounds, young fallowis or young husis, haffand na … seruice to life upon
1530 Ib. ii. 40.
All maner of personis that hes … housis … quhar ony hussis, vile personis, or vagabundis duellis in
1545 Treas. Acc. VIII. 466.
To ane baird husse in Dumbertane
1569–70 Haddington Treas. Acc.
To a hwsse that helpeit to heir the defettis
1581 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 214.
The … profanatioun of the Saboth … be … dansing, playing, rynning throw the hie streittis of husseis, bairnis, and boyes
1596 Dalr. I. 290/5.
Culenie … gaue him selfe to all filthines, … with the foullest slutt husies and seruandis
1600 Reg. Privy C. VI. 109.
Witnessis and probation of huseis, wyffis, and beggaris
1631 Peebles B. Rec. I. 417.
For putting away ane ȝoung hussie callit Bessie Scott
(b) 1614 Ayr B. Acc. 60.
For cordage anent ane houssie Agnes Benot and ane fallow that wes scurgit
(c) 1594 J. M. Thomson Public Rec. (1922) 133.
Ane proud, young, and bangster hizzie
1642 Wemyss Fam. P. (MS.).
[He] houndis out base hisses and followis to unbeset the … complenaris

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"Hussy n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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