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Koozie, coozie, floozie?

Posted by Jan Freeman, keep until April January 4, 2009 02:26 PM
floozie.jpg

Today's Word column on beer koozies (and coozies and cozies) reminded Adrienne Beaton of how she learned the word: "A long time ago, my father referred to the girlfriend of a married man as a koozie. I don't have a slang dictonary, and this usage may have been in my home only! But Dad was often correct in the terms he used."

Dad was right. As I mentioned in the column, coozie was once vulgar slang for the female genitals -- and though you could make up a folk etymology connecting that with "cozy," there's no evidence of a link. Since it was a dead end, I didn't pursue that sense.

But coozy also meant "A sexually attractive or promiscuous woman," or floozie, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Its earliest example is a 1912 definition from the Evening Observer in Dunkirk, N.Y.: "Coozie, a girl whom you don't know, but whom you would like to get acquainted with: a new proposition."

Floozy, also spelled floosie or -- as in the 1950 pulp novel above -- floozie, is of the same vintage, first recorded in 1911. Its origins are also uncertain, but the OED points to the dialect adjective floosy, meaning fluffy or soft, as a possible source.


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Rules and realities of English usage from Boston Globe Ideas columnist Jan Freeman.
Jan Freeman, a former Boston Globe editor, has been writing the weekly column The Word since 1997. E-mail her at freeman@globe.com.
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