Monday, February 08, 2010


HAG, n. An elderly lady whom you do not happen to like; sometimes called, also, a hen, or cat. Old witches, sorceresses, etc., were called hags from the belief that their heads were surrounded by a kind of baleful lumination or nimbus — hag being the popular name of that peculiar electrical light sometimes observed in the hair. At one time hag was not a word of reproach: Drayton speaks of a "beautiful hag, all smiles," much as Shakespeare said, "sweet wench." It would not now be proper to call your sweetheart a hag — that compliment is reserved for the use of her grandchildren.

2009 Update: A woman time has granted a man's portion of disagreeableness or a goat deprived of lechery.


Jim said...

I'm thinking of a childrens' story but I can't remember anything about it.
I had a landlady once who would qualify.

Nessa said...

You called?


Nessa said...

Jim - I think you are going for any good German fairytale.


Ariel the Thief said...

Nessa, I love German fairytales, too!

Russell CJ Duffy said...

Geordies (people who live in Newcastle, England) use the term hen as an endearment but also refer to those they like as pet as in 'Why aye pet' which means, loosely translated, 'Yes my dear'

I think that Londoner's used to think of me as a 'baleful luminesence' back in the punk fuelled seventies but that is another story.

Anonymous said...

frau braun
in everyone
Peace Bless

quilly said...

Popeye's nemesis -- uhm, the one uglier than Bluto, and o, I didn't mean Olive Oyl, although .....

The Sea Hag said...

Aargh! He can't laugh at me aboard me own ship, the Black Barnacle! Hang the Dog! Hang Him High!

The Sea Hag said...

Bilge and Blaggard, I say!
I was Tricked! Fooled!
Duped by the Dreaded Copy and Paste!
This here is a Better Image
of My Loathsome Visage!
Remember it Well
as I'm
Obsessed With
Capturing Popeye's Dark Soul!

TLP said...

Just a nice, sweet, older lady who didn't comb her hair yet.

Chef Bill said...

One whose inner bitterness and bile have finally gone all the way through. Pl. haggis.

cooper said...

I can only think Macbeth. A hag is more of a precursor to the witch than the witch though.

k. riggs gardner said...

C.J.D. ~ Never in a million years could I imagine why 1970s punk-fueled Londoners would think you a baleful luminesence. You will have to share that story with us on another day.

Doug The Una said...

Jim, you might be thinking of all of them.

Nessa, that didn't take long.

Sure, Ariel. Nothing in them happens to Hungarians.

C.J., and here you are a perfect family man. I never would have guessed you were once so wholesome.

Thom, I don't think you first to make that connection and doubt you'll be the last.

Amen, Bear. And who doesn't have a little Frau Braun in them at 4:20.

Quilly, you just put your finger on exactly what I loved about that cartoon.

Ah, hag, I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

Of course, TLP. Of course.

Bill, I never thought of haggis as the bread of a hag.

Exactly, Cooper. More of a diagnostic warning, really.

Karen, there are 8 million stories in the naked city.

hansel said...

After all the snow, it's nice and toasty in heah... now, where are my bread crumbs?

weirsdo said...

It's unwise to call one's sweetheart a wench, either.

Unknown said...

I heard this term often used by some men referring to their mother in law ;)

I didn't know that there was a time in history when the term 'hag' was actually a nicety :)

Doug The Una said...

Hansel, there will be plenty of panko in your immediate future, I think.

Double so if true, Weirsdo.

Nicole, I think Bierce was being sarcastic. But it's true, a lot of insults come from old compliments and visa-versa.