instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, November 21, 2003

A touch of exclusivity

I had read somewhere some time ago that "werewolf" came from the Old English "wer," man, and "wulf," wolf.

What I didn't know was the whole "man"/"werman"/"wyfman"/"wife"/"woman" etymology tree. If I'm following everything correctly, what it means is that the term "werewolf" is properly applied to male lycanthropes exclusively. (A female lycanthrope would be a "wifewolf," although I suppose you'd be free to spell it differently.)

If that's true, then the modern word "wolfman" should probably be used only in an exclusive sense as well. Hence, "George is a wolfman," "Alice is a wolfwoman," "George and Alice are wolfhumans."

So no one can call me an extremist on language!