[lit-ideas] Re: help with geezer, the gender bender

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 08:38:28 -0700

On Oct 16, 2006, at 10:15 PM, Robert Paul wrote:


'Geezer' comes from 'guiser,' a 19th C word for mummer. From 'guise' = 'dress,'
or 'costume.'

Eric Partridge's dictionary adds, "A person: in the 1890's, generally of women; in the C. 20, generally of men." He then quotes the same etymology Robert Paul found, but adds, "Note, however, that Wellington's soldiers may, ca. 1811, have picked up Basque giza, man, fellow, and changed it to geezer."

From man to woman and then back again to man?

Typing "geezer" into a search engine brings results that suggest the word is still in use, at least among geezers.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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