One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A cat (especially as a form of address)‘dangly baubles can be too tantalizing for even the best behaved pusses’
cat, domestic cat, wild cat, alley cat, kittenView synonyms
- ‘The puss used up one of her nine lives when she was spotted dodging the Ryanair Boeing 737 as it arrived from Dublin.’
- ‘I sat next to puss on the couch again but Sam never left the door.’
- ‘Apparently, her puss Fang soon tires of any particular flavor and makes life difficult at meal times.’
- ‘At the grand old age of 22, Wilhemina the puss has enjoyed more than her share of cat lives.’
- ‘Between 10 and 15 cats, including a pregnant puss, have been found dead near the intersection of Balmain Rd and Moore St in the past year.’
- ‘This does not amuse either puss who associate feathered birds with fair game and dinner.’
- ‘While licking its claws, puss leaves a collection of the organism there, which in turn becomes yours when the cat scratches you.’
- ‘A pretty puss Sophie came second in a beautiful pet competition - despite being dead.’
- ‘Catfights also cause nasty abscesses that result in pain and trips to the vet for puss.’
- ‘But after two days, the lucky puss was able to return home none the worse after his four-week ordeal.’
- ‘Even the mildest mannered little pooch or the purrfect pet puss will bite and scratch savagely when injured.’
- ‘‘Ah, there you are, puss,’ the gentleman said in a pinched voice, his attention on Croft.’
- 1.1 A playful or coquettish girl or young woman.‘you old snuggle puss’
- ‘What made you think there's an intruder, puss?’
- ‘‘Don't worry, puss,’ he said, heading out of the room.’
- ‘‘You're getting me into trouble, puss,’ Louis would say reproachfully.’
- ‘‘Don't get all huffy, puss,’ Louis said gently.’
- ‘All the better for hearing that you're safe and well, puss.’
Early 16th century: probably from Middle Low German pūs (also pūskatte) or Dutch poes, of unknown origin.
A person's face or mouth.
face, features, physiognomy, profileView synonyms
- ‘He had a right puss on him when he lifted it down off the stool.’
- ‘There was nothing more exasperating than the snug puss of my Dublin work colleague as he entered the office the morning after.’
- ‘Everybody says she always had a puss on her face, and I always smiled.’
- ‘As for Specter - we're sick to death of seeing his puss.’
- ‘In any case, after looking at his smug puss for an hour or so, I'm far more likely to pass on the son and vote for the parents.’
Late 19th century: from Irish pus ‘lip, mouth’.
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