Monday, April 18, 2011

Word of the Day

I'm rereading "The Merchant's Tale" for my class, and was struck by the repetition of the word "buxom." I tend to think of "buxom" as meaning busty. How about you?

But it doesn't, at least it didn't. It used to be all about obedience, meekness, humility, and so on. It gradually comes to take on meanings of affability, indulgent, and such, which sort of makes sense because an obedient, humble woman is pretty indulgent of men's behavior, I suppose. And then it shifts to being about jolliness and healthy, vigorous, because, perhaps, that's what one wants in an obedient, indulgent woman.

Now I'm thinking about all those comments in popular culture about "buxom blondes" and I'm totally grossed out.

Will patriarchal crap never end?

1 comment:

  1. The wedding service used in Chaucer's day had women promising to be buxom at bed and at board. I figured that was where the semantic drift started: what sort of woman do most men want in bed?