“The Etymology of ‘Woman’”

“Although the majority of English words are loaned, borrowed, or stolen from other languages, woman has no cognates in contemporary or historic foreign languages, making it one of few exclusively English words. The word is derived from wyfman, the combination of wyf [wife] and man. Following is an examination of the word’s history, and a brief glance at its possible future…
In the Early Old English (eOE), wyf was used to describe a member of the female gender, unlike our contemporary use of the word, meaning ‘a married woman’…
there was a need in [middle English] for a word meaning ‘adult human male’. The words were and wapman, meaning ‘male’ and ‘males’ respectively, had become entirely obsolete by the 13th century. The only word left to mean ‘adult human male’ was the word man, which had until then been used irrespective of sex to mean simply, ‘human’…
We may yet see a prefix added to man to indicate maleness, or we may see something entirely new arise to fit the meaning we need… 100 years from now may be a foundation for menmyn, replacing the etymological wyf with the current man to mean ‘adult male human’, while man reverts back to its original genderless state.”

Oh wow that was interesting. Seriously, read the whole thing.

Imma start calling dudes “wapmen” and “menmyn”.

Also, was anyone else under the impression that woman meant “sheath for a sword”? Where is that from?

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