1. (also pussy) a hare; also attrib. see cite 1851 [orig. dial.].
|Noble Arte of Venerie or Hunting 146: Then let him which founde the Hare go towardes hyr and say, vp pusse vp, vntill she ryse out of hyr forme.|
|Poems on Affairs of State I 7: That lusty puss, the Good Old Cause, whose wits / Show’d Oliver such sport.‘Iter Boreale’ in Lord|
|She Would if She Cou’d IV ii: If a Leveret be better meat then an old Puss.|
|Hudibras Redivivus I:1 23: No, no, cries Puss, for all your cunning, / I see ’tis time to men my Running.|
|in Pills to Purge Melancholy II 189: Hark, hark how the Merry, merry Horn does blow, As though the Lanes and Meadows we go, / As Puss has run over the Down.|
|‘Hare & Many Friends’ Poems (1801) 58: The Horse reply’d, Poor honest puss.|
|Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 126: He [...] made a most confounded rout, / Just like a greyhound, when poor puss / Has whipp’d behind some friendly bush.|
|Farmer 17: To me presented Puss, the Hare.|
|Buck’s Delight 37: Blythe Johnny [...] To me presented puss the hare, / That o’er the wild theme ran so fleet.‘Molly Maybush’|
|Sporting Mag. Nov. XI 106/2: The Hare was o’er his shoulder flung, [...] From side to side poor Pussy swung.|
|Rhymes of Northern Bards 258: A gentleman [...] got a hare-skin well stuff’d with hay. / Then into the field [...] set her against a hedge-side; / Our gunners were rambling the fields thro; ./ so that pussy was quickly espy’d.Jr. (ed.)|
|‘Hark, Hark Away’ in Universal Songster I 16/2: And we all galloped off to the sound of the horn / [...] / When all of a sudden out starts Mrs Puss.|
|in Bk of Sports 385: Poor puss! and thy life is indeed but a day! / When the eye-searching greyhound encounters your way.|
|‘The Hare-Skin’ in Rum Ti Tum! in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 174: That pussy was quickly espy’d. / Mr Tindal was the first that espy’d her, / He said that he lov’d a roast hare.|
|Handy Andy 353: Like greyhounds in the slip, ready to start after puss.|
|Young Tom Hall (1926) 213: A smart-sealed note [...] inviting him to partake of the pleasures of a puss hunt.|
|Ask Mamma 200: Puss, however, had slipped away unseen by the hounds.|
|in Bagford Ballads II xxiii: Shy Pus may double, or cunning Reynard slink under the bridge-arch, but the horseman are staunch.|
|Field 27 Feb. n.p.: Dusting her hare about half a dozen times up to the fence, where puss escaped [F&H].|
|Fifty Years (2nd edn) I 153: We killed some uncommon large hares, one elephantine pussy turning the scale considerably over ten pounds.|
|Ashburton Guardian 16 July 2/6: Puss was again lost for a time [...] but the hounds being keen on the scent [...] ran into her.|
|Sporting Times 11 Feb. 1/5: A couple of cast-iron dogs were slipped at a hare about twice as big as Radnor Park, and, after a terrific course, killed, literally at Malini’s feet—tearing poor puss in two, in fact.|
|Punch (Melbourne) 1 Aug. 42/2: It was a long course and a remarkable one, the dogs taking it turn about to scout, while the other harried puss from the rear .|
|Children of the Rainbow 7: If she [a greyhound] overruns she’d never smell puss again.|
|Irish Times 30 Jan. n.p.: The French have various nicknames for the hare. Our usual one is puss [BS].|
2. in senses of ‘femininity’ [SE puss; the association of women and cats].
(a) a (young) woman.
|Honest Whore Pt 2 (1630) I iii: It’s no matter, we ha had knocking Pusses enow already.|
|Roaring Girle IV ii: I’ll not bate one sixpence. – I’ll maul you, puss, for spitting.|
|Anatomy of Melancholy (1850) 509: Pleasant names may be invented; bird, mouse, lamb, puss, pigeon, pigsney, kid, honey, love, dove, chicken, &c. he puts on her.|
|Covent-Garden Weeded IV i: I [...] was stayed, I vow, by the bravest sport, baiting of a fellow or two with our Pusse-cats here.|
|Parson’s Wedding (1664) V iv: Away, puss, if you flatter me.|
|Pleasant Notes III v 93: What ever thou and the foule pusse did doe (sub Rosa as they say) while you were plucking of her Rose.|
|Rump IV i: I will have eight gentlemen Ushers, that Puss Bess had Foure.|
|Bury Fair II i: What a Pox, is this Puss my Wife here?|
|‘Once, Twice, Thrice, I Julia Try’d’ in(1897) II 83: Once, Twice, Thrice I Julia try’d, / The Scornful Puss as oft deny’d.|
|Present from the October-Club 14: Was ever such a Damn’d ill-natur’d Puss, To serve her very Landlord thus?|
|Proceedings Old Bailey 10 Oct. 4/2: The deceased followed her Husband, called the prisoner poor beggarly Bitch, nasty draggle tail’d toad, ugly Puss, and stinking Punk, bid her go wash her Smock, and continued such language till she fell down dead by her Husband.|
|Tom Jones (1959) 179: I little thought what puss he was looking after; but it shall be the worst he ever vound in his life. She shall be no better than carrion.|
|Jealous Wife II ii: Gone! what a pox had I just run her down, and is the little puss stole away at last?|
|Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 123: How dare you thus / Chatter to me, you saucy puss?|
|Dupes of Fancy 17: Oh, never mind the little Puss.|
|Sporting Mag. Jan. XXIII 228/1: Ah, Nan! thou art a bucksome puss.|
|Rhymes of Northern Bards 254: Each cuddles his coney or rabbit, / And pleasantly purrs with puss-cats; / Hence with husky harlots cohabit, / And handle a herdling’s old hats.Jr. (ed.)|
|Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 142: ‘Ma’am Puss’ a pert lass, bar-maid at a tavern; or one suspected of loose practices, with a saucy tongue, is a Ma’am Puss.|
|Comic Almanack May 137: ‘And now my pretty puss,’ Says he.|
|London Assurance in London Assurance and other Victorian Comedies (2001) Act III: lady gay: Max! max: Come in, you mischievous puss.|
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 9 Mar. 3/2: It was found the little puss paid more attention to H. M. infantry than to Mr. Y.|
|Adam Bede (1873) 85: The little puss seems already to have airs enough to make a husband [...] miserable.|
|Quite Alone I 48: The ‘little puss’ had been crying her eyes out.|
|Dead Men’s Shoes II 165: ‘Artful puss,’ thinks Stephen.|
|Girl in the Brown Habit I 99: ‘Ah! you puss!’ said he, with an indulgent smile.|
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 12 Oct. 1/2: Sly little puss.|
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 1 Mar. 7/4: ‘Kiss me, puss, and open another bottle of champagne’.|
|Houndsditch Day by Day 153: No, puss, no; to Heligoland with the Chesterfield.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 2 Sept. 4/7: The naughty little puss [...] tried to sit in my lap.|
|Arthur’s 215: There’s a bad-tempered little puss, now.|
|Aus. Felix (1971) 59: By Jupiter, yes! [...] The little puss!|
|Timber Wolves 22: Blest if she ain’t been to sleep in her chair. Lazy little puss.|
|Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 253: Don’t let that sour-balled puss muck up your life for you.|
|Caught (2001) 142: He asked himself what he would not give to have this puss mouth jam off his cheek by a river bank.|
|Emigrants (1980) 177: Somebody’s getting a piece o’ puss.|
|Down All the Days 149: And how’s the oul puss-puss tonight, Delia, me darling?|
|Snake 169: A swanky puss like Shirl.|
|College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Puss (possibly offensive)} (noun) A female.|
(b) a prostitute, a madame.
|Covent-Garden Weeded IV i: Nay, you perpetual Pusse.|
|Gossips Braule 6: I never tyred going to Hackney for Turn-ups yet; mark ye that Puss.|
|Virgil Travestie (1765) Bk I 6: That cross-grain’d peevish scolding Quean, / That scratching cater-wawling Puss.|
|Eng. Rogue III 81: I met with several that had nibled on the bait of concupiscence, but they were such flounder-mouth’d, draggle-tail’d dirty Pusses, that I put would not venture upon any of them.|
|Female Tatler (1992) (10) 19: He mimick’d and ridicul’d all the quality in the kingdom; this lady was a trapes, t’other a puss.|
|Beggar’s Opera III i: Mistress Puss! – Out of my Sight, wanton Strumpet!|
(c) the vagina.
|Tales and Jests of Hugh Peters in Nest of Ninnies (1970) n.p.: Behold the Merchant’s wife in her Satins, the Citizen’s in her silks, and the Chambermaid [...] she must glister in her silver-Lace-on the upper coat, half a dozen at least, on the next coat, a few less. Nay, their very smocks must be laced forsooth. Take up that and there sits Puss in her Majesty.|
|Jack Adams his perpetual almanack 4: The seventh [...] we shall call Quistrill, her mark or Character is a round O with a prick in the midle, or Pusse in her Majestie.|
|‘Trap’ in Pepys Ballads (1987) III 17: But he mist of his sport, for Puss would not start’.|
|‘The Royal Buss’ in Poems on Affairs of State (1963) I 263: Yet they made gods of better tools. / No altars then to plackets were, / No majesty by puss would swear.|
|‘The Highprized Pin-box’ [ballad] The Usurer that grindeth / to get use upon use, / Often time he findeth, / To come and play with Puss.|
|French King’s Wedding 7: Eager Flesh will not be serv’d, with dry Bobs put upon her, Nor will she suffer it to be Starv’d, I mean her Puss of Honour.|
|in Pills to Purge Melancholy IV 218: [He] put in for a Course, and us’d all his Art, / But he mist of the Sport, for Puss would not start.|
|Essay on Woman 21: ’Tis a fond pouting puss, means good to all; And thereby hangs-no-oft’ner springs a tail.|
|‘My Thing Is My Own’ in Fake Away Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 284: [as 1674, 1719] .|
|‘The Love Feast’ in Stories the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell (1994) 58: One, more wanton than the rest / Seized on love’s moss-bounded nest. / And cried, ‘Poor puss shall have a treat / For the first time of juicy meat’.|
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
|‘Marry’s Cat’ Bawdy N.Y. State MS. n.p.: But Marry kept hers [i.e. her ‘cat’] closely hid, / Beneath her under-skirt, / And thus did puss escape the boys, / And never get a single squirt.|
|in Limerick (1953) 239: A muff-diver’s dream / Because he refused to let puss go.|
|Candy (1970) 54: Cut the crap, you little tight-puss bitch!|
|(con. 1930s) Lawd Today 93: I rememers when old aunt Lucy [...] saw your old aunt Mary there watching with her finger stuck in her puss.|
|Flesh and Blood (1978) 97: I was [...] Afraid I’d do it wrong, put it in the wrong hole, because out on the street they said there were two, one for piss and one for puss.|
|Permanent Midnight 55: A racist, puss-pushing yokel.|
|Planet Sex Stories [Internet] In fact, I caught a glance of Stevie licking his fingers clean after removing them from my puss.‘Burning Down the House’|
|Thrill City [ebook] ‘I’m not putting my poor puss through that. She’s for fun and profit only, aren’t you, babe?’ She addressed the last remark to her vagina .|
|Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 11: I give them a three month grace period before one of these Officers has a finger in that puss.|
(d) the ‘feminine’ partner in a lesbian couple.
|Signs of Crime 197: Puss Feminine type of female lesbian.|
(e) (US gay) the buttocks.
|Gay Sl. Dict. [Internet].|
(f) (US gay) an underage boy.
|Queens’ Vernacular 45: any boy under the age of consent [...] puss.|
|Love Without 168: Jesus act like a [...] little puss, cause he know he so much a man ain’t nobody gonna call him out.‘Pure’|
3. (W.I.) with ref. to the cat’s silent walk.
(a) rubber-soled canvas shoes.
|When Me Was A Boy 148: Puss or ‘crepe sole’ shoes was the joggers of them times.|
(b) a thief.
|cited in Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).|
4. see pussy n. (4)
5. see pussy n. (11)
|cited in Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).|
|cited in Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).|
(W.I.) rubber-soled canvas shoes.
|Jamaica Dialect Verses 36: Shove har foot eena wan ole puss boot.‘Po’ Muffeena’|
|Summer Lightning 29: He wearing the biggest pair of puss boot that ever make.‘Ascot’|
(US black) a weak man.
|[||Poems I 163: I cannot talk with civet in the room, / A fine puss-gentleman that's all perfume; / The sight's enough —no need to smell a beau — / Who thrusts his nose into a rareeshow?|
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
see pussy-pelmet under pussy n.
see pussy out under pussy n.