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8 comments on this post.
  1. Moley:

    The river Liffey in Dublin (Ireland) is represented by statue of a naked female figure who sits in a pool and is coloquially known as “the floozie in the jacuzzi”.

  2. Gram:

    Is it more commonly spelled floozy or floosie? Thanks.

  3. Mike Manthey:

    You mention “hussy” coming from “housewife”. I say, Only indirectly. My knowledge of Danish and Danes’ emigration to North America causes me to think that “hussy” comes from “hus syg” [the ‘g’ is silent now but originally the ‘g’ denoted a German ‘ch’], meaning “sick to get a house” ie. ‘crazy’ to meet and seduce a guy with a house. The term “hus syg” makes perfect sense, with the same meaning even in contemporary Danish, but signals the peasant culture of yore.



  4. admin:

    Here’s Evan’s answer to the “hussy” question:


  5. Andrew Silverman:

    There’s a Victorian erotic novella with this word used as a proper name for the titular heroine.

  6. Andrew Silverman:

    Amendment – novella is titled Flossie

  7. Mark Seifert:

    I did some research into this myself recently, and with respect, I think the above explanation of “floozy” is almost certainly incorrect.

    “Flossy” as used in the 1890s was certainly used to describe clothing, though in an innocent context. It was also briefly used to describe rowdy or aggressive young men, in the same way the word “slick” has been used. “Flossie” and “Flossy” were also common girl’s names in the 1890s. But this is not where “floozy” comes from.

    In the early 1880s, there was an incredibly popular saloon / dance hall song called “Flewey Flewey”. “Flewey Flewey” doesn’t actually mean anything, it’s just a nonsense phrase that is silly and fun to say. And by amazing non-coincidence not unlike “Louie Louie”, “Flewey Flewey” became a popular party anthem from about 1880 to the mid-1890s.

    The song’s supposed author, a performer named Billy Courtright, was a popular actor and singer on the Minstrelsy circuit, which in his particular case meant he was a white dude who wore blackface. It’s not unlikely that he appropriated the song or something very like it from Black culture of the era. Courtright went onto become an early silent film star, working for DW Griffith and Hal Roach.

    Anyway, “flewey” entered mainstream usage and can be seen used in newspapers of the period, as sort of a code-word. Saying that someone got “flewey” and got arrested or the like meant that he or she went out and partied and got drunk, high, or otherwise messed up — and then most likely got into some sort of trouble as a result.

    Just after the turn of the century, “flewey” transformed to “fluzy”, “floozie” and finally “floozy”. One can find it in use in connection to gambling, “boom town” situations, and even circus performers and sports. In other words, thrill- or danger-seekers.

    One particular usage I ran across which is an example of why I’m skeptical of the “flossy” connection: It seems that in 1904 in Salt Lake City, there was a trend among women who wanted to go out and gamble to do so dressed in men’s clothing. In many gambling establishments in SLC, they reserved a “floozie room” for women who did this. Thus, these “floozies” would not fit the concept of the word as we understand it today.

    From there, the term was solidified by around 1907 as meaning a female thrill- or fun-seeker, and goes onto transform into the meaning that we more commonly understand today.

  8. admin:

    For a different take on “floozy”, check out the last three paragraphs of this post on the Oxford University Press blog, by etymologist Anatoly Liberman:


    The word “floozy”, he points out, appeared around the same time as “doozy”, and slang often echoes/rhymes with other slang — which may be a piece of the puzzle. — KW

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