Posted: 24 October 2007 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1532
Joined  2007-03-21

ahd gives a good definition but no origins. 

Dictionary.com artfully offers: [Origin: 1585–95; woman + -ize]

I can’t imagine that womanize was used as a verb in 1585-95. But maybe. etymonline has “Verb womanize originally (1593) meant “to make effeminate;” sense of “to chase women, to go wenching” is attested from 1893.” But no citations for the attestation.

The etymology is interesting given that this came up in a re-run of a David Letterman piece making fun of the altogether-easy-to-make-fun-of Michael Jackson who is rumored to being remarried to yet another woman.

Any citations in OED on-line?  I’d try NPA, but the OCR function is not reliable that far back.

Posted: 24 October 2007 09:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  3292
Joined  2007-01-31

The 1893 cite is from a dictionary of slang, but “womanize” is used in the definition of another term, rather than being listed as slang:
“1893 FARMER & HENLEY Slang, Goose..to go wenching: to womanize.”

“Womanizer” is given (with a British -s-) from 1924: ”GALSWORTHY White Monkey II. ix, Somehow..I feel he’s a womaniser.”

Posted: 25 October 2007 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  4153
Joined  2007-01-29

The early citations are as follows:

womanize, v.

1. trans. To make a woman of (a man); gen. to render effeminate, to emasculate.
a1586 SIDNEY Arcadia I. xii. §5 This effeminate love of a woman, doth so womanish [so ed. 1590; edd. 1593-1674 womanize] a man, that (if he yeeld to it) it will.. make him.. a launder, a distaff-spinner. [...]

2. intr. To become womanlike; to behave like a woman.
1604 EARL STIRLING Croesus III. ii. F3, From the height of Honour to digresse, To womanize with courtly vaine delights. [...]

3. To consort illicitly with women. colloq.
1893 FARMER & HENLEY Slang, Goose.. to go wenching: to womanize. [...]

Hence womanized ppl. a., in senses of the verb; also, rendered womanly; womanizing vbl. n. and ppl. a.; womanization; womanizer, one who goes after or consorts illicitly with women.
1624 GEE Foot out of Snare 62 Fit.. to act a womanized Chaerea in Terence his Eunuchus. 1633 DRUMMOND OF HAWTHORNDEN Entert. K. Chas. iv. 31 Gorgeous rayments, womanising toyes. [...]1914 A. HARRISON Kaiser’s War v. 141 The growing softness of life beyond the Fatherland—the world’s general womanization, as they [sc. Germans] called it. 1924 GALSWORTHY White Monkey II. ix, Somehow.. I feel he’s a womaniser.

Posted: 25 October 2007 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  283
Joined  2007-02-23

Sense 1 is replaced by “feminize” today, I think.

Sense 3 is found much earlier. E.g.: from Google Books:

Rene La Roche, _Pneumonia_ (1854): p. 428: //the number of cases would be vastly increased, were indulgences in good eating and hard drinking, and especially in what good old Floyer quaintly denominated “womanizing,” as certain to bring on an attack of that disease ....//

Joel Shew, _The Hydropathic Family Physician_ (1857): p. 259: //Besides, too, in such cases, patients are generally so lecherous, and so given to _womanizing_, ....//

S. W. Fallon, _A New Hindustani-English Dictionary_ (1879): p. 694: //_rand-chhandi_ [diacritics omitted], n. m. A womanizer; a libertine.//

And then of course there is/was the uncommon sense (transitive, similar to sense 1) “to make a woman of (a girl)”.

[ Edited: 25 October 2007 09:14 PM by D Wilson ]
Posted: 25 October 2007 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Total Posts:  2689
Joined  2007-01-30

Fascinating. It seems probable, given the context of your first cite, that ‘good old Floyer’ was Sir John Floyer, M.D. (1649-1734). This would push the usage back to the 17th/18th century.

Posted: 26 October 2007 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Total Posts:  1532
Joined  2007-03-21

pneumonia might be the least of [the worries of] a 17th century womanizer.  Thanks all.  As aldi said, fascinating.

edit in brackets.

[ Edited: 26 October 2007 07:39 AM by Oecolampadius ]
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