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"Distaff" is a metonymy for the female side of a family (or society, I guess.)  What is the equivalent metonymy for the male side?


Oct. 26th, 2014 06:55 am (UTC)
Spear-side seems to be right as antonym of distaff-side, the terms recently dating from somewhere in the late medieval and terribly Freudian as well, as so much of word origins seems to be: the point of the spear at the end of the shaft; the cleft at the point of the distaff shaft to anchor the strands of flax wound round the shaft for later spinning. Back to fairy tales with all that spinning and spearing and winding.
Oct. 26th, 2014 11:49 am (UTC)
All that Freudian stuff -- I learned that at my mother's knee.
Oct. 26th, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC)
Nah, I don't buy that Freudian reading, because pamphlets would show the woman wielding the distaff in the same way the man wielded the sword--as a weapon.
Feb. 8th, 2015 02:29 pm (UTC)
Or like a rolling-pin in old cartoons.