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Friday, August 24, 2007

It Has Come to My Attention…

posted by on August 24 at 16:49 PM

… that I misspelled the verb “cuckquean” in my review of The Nanny Diaries. Naturally, I am CRUSHED.

Here I am, trying to popularize a really fantastic word that has—for unknown but clearly specious (sexist?) reasons—fallen into disuse, and I misspell it. How are you going to look it up in the OED? Jesus, I’m an idiot.

Anyway, if you’re curious—and especially if you don’t give a flying fuck—here’s what the OED has to say about “cuckquean”:

cuckquean, n.


A female cuckold.
1562 J. HEYWOOD Prov. & Epigr. (1867) 62 Ye make hir a cookqueane. 1565 GOLDING Ovid’s Met. VI. (1593) 146 Queene Progne was a cutqueane made by meanes of her. 1614 Sco. Venus (1876) 39 That hast made her a quot-queane shamefully. 1615 HEYWOOD Foure Prentises Wks. 1874 II. 216 Hee’d make his wife a Cucke-queane. a1652 BROME City Wit IV. i, To bee made Cuckqueane by such a Cockscombe. 1922 JOYCE Ulysses 15 A wandering crone..their common cuckquean.

Hence cuckquean v. trans., to make a cuckquean of.
1592 WARNER Alb. Eng. VIII. xli. (1612) 199 Came I from be Cuckquean’d heere? a1652 BROME Mad Couple III. i, You can doe him no cuckold him, for assure your selfe hee cuckqueans you.

And, a reminder: the OED online is available to all Seattle residents (including, cough cough, our copy editors) via the Seattle Public Library. You must have a library card and know your PIN.

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Or you can get it free from the National Library of Canada if you know the website for that.

Boo yea!

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 24, 2007 4:54 PM

I would love- LOVE!- to use this word every day for the rest of my life, but... How is it pronounced?

Posted by Justin | August 24, 2007 5:25 PM

annee, as eveveyone konws i misspell everthing. chin up.

Posted by adrian! | August 24, 2007 6:16 PM

Clearly the modern pronunciation would have to be "cock queen."

Posted by Smarm | August 24, 2007 6:17 PM

Obscure words rule!

Posted by Sean | August 24, 2007 7:38 PM

I'm frankly a little annoyed you didn't spell it "cookqueane" like old J. Heywood did.

Posted by Fnarf | August 25, 2007 12:01 AM

Thank you for for bringing that word to my attention. I had been struggling for a word to describe the leading presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, but I knew there was something wrong with using cockold on her.

Posted by rod | August 25, 2007 1:56 AM

And thanks for the tip on the OED. I have this sick fantasy of owning a print copy to leaf through of a snowy evening.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | August 25, 2007 7:29 AM

You can get print copies at sales up in Canada - it's the required reference material for all government offices.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 25, 2007 3:02 PM

Damn, thanks for the OED link.

Posted by S | August 25, 2007 11:44 PM

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