Wednesday, April 23, 2008

RE: My word, cussed.

word definition:1:Perverse; stubborn. 2:Cursed. By the early nineteenth century, we knew how to cuss. In an 1815 book called A Yankee in England, we find a definition: "Cuss, curse."
As the definition indicates, cuss is nothing more than a variation of the spelling and pronunciation of curse. To cuss, the verb, comes from the identical noun cuss, a form that is attested as early as 1775 in the Narragansett Historical Register: "A man that...was noted for a damn cuss." Like Bust (1764) from burst, it reflects the r-dropping pronunciation of New England and the South, as heard by others who pronounced the r. But somehow the cussing was so emphatic it took on a life of its own.
Or perhaps it was a euphemism, available to those who did not want to utter a word that was as shocking as curse. Evidence for this is in Mark Twain's use of the phrase cuss word in his 1872 book Roughing It: "He didn't give a continental for anybody. Beg your pardon, friend, for coming so near saying a cuss-word."
For whatever reason, Twain found the word congenial. He used it in Life on the Mississippi (1883): "He got mad and jumped up and begun to cuss the crowd, and said he could lam any thief in the lot." And in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884): "He...cussed me for putting on frills and trying to be better than him."
Cussing continues nowadays. It can be therapy, as in a 1976 article "Failure Is a Word I Don't Accept" from the Harvard Business Review: "How do you deal with anger? If I'm mad at somebody, I just go in a room, close the door, and cuss him or her out where nobody can hear me. Sometimes I write a letter that I don't mail. I've done a lot of that."

Sentence: ''Damn", he cussed, when he realized that he had actually spilled coke on his brand new mandras shirt.

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Posted by: Wong Hong Song(36), Class 1-1

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