Friday, December 31, 2004


Elizabeth Marquardt points to a letter to the New York Times:
I stayed home for two and a half years with our two young children. While on vacation in Nova Scotia, I struck up a conversation with a local woman we met at a firehouse pancake breakfast. On learning my status, she exclaimed: “Oh! You’re a housefather!” I much preferred that moniker to the derivative and inaccurate “house husband” or the clunky “stay-at-home dad.”

Michael Mernin
Montclair, N.J., Dec. 22, 2004
"House husband" may be "derivative and inaccurate," but that doesn't quite capture what's wrong with the term. The real problem is that "house husband" is redundant. "Husband" comes from the Old Norse "hus-bondi," with "hus" meaning "house" and "bondi" meaning "dweller." So technically, the term "house husband" is just as redundant as would be the term "wife woman." ("Woman" came from the Old English "wif-man," or "female person" ("wif" meaning female and "man" meaning person)).

Stuart Buck


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the etymology does have to do with the alliteration, which has to do with a large part of why it sounds clunky. So etymology is related, IMO.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't find a reference, but I've read that 'wife' comes from the root of 'weaver', only indirectly indicating 'female'.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Picky, picky


10:29 PM  

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