Hoydens and Firebrands

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Oh, what's a Hoyden? Here you go.

Hoyden: a girl or woman of saucy, boisterous, or carefree behavior.

Etymology: perhaps from obsolete Dutch heiden (country lout), from Middle Dutch, heathen; akin to Old English haethen (heathen).

Approximate date of first usage: 1676

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1 comment:

  1. I *love* the word hoyden. Most words that reference misbehaviour in women are so nasty. Hoyden always sounds playful to me, even slightly admiring.

    I used to do the Kentwell recreations, and there we speak a slightly archaic form of English for the sake of period flavour. One of the nice things about that is that it means we get to use all those lovely words that aren't in use any more. I remember one summer afternoon my friend and I were sitting on the sward, and one of the participant girls, a boisterous thing of 8 or 9, ran past us full tilt, giggling and barefoot, with her coif in her hand and her hair tousled and flying loose behind her. My friend shook her head. 'That girl,' she said indulgently, 'is a hoyden.'


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