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Definition: A term of endearment – usually a term used by a man to refer to a woman to whom he is attracted.

Pronunciation: Say it like you see it. Pigs-nee


Pigsney dates to the 14th century. It literally means ‘Pigs Eye’. Apparently, that’s what one called a girl back then to set her heart aflutter.

The earliest record of pigsney – or a variant – appearing in literature was in Chaucer’s ‘The Miller’s Tale’, when a particular woman was referred to as “She was a prymerole, a piggesney, For any lord to leggen in his bedde”. That Chaucer sure had a way with the ladies… (Note to self: find out what a ‘prymerole’ is …)

Why This Word?

Usually, a term of endearment is based upon something cute or desirable – and something with a playful name. For example, I regularly call my wife ‘buttercup pixie’ or ‘daffodil springtime sugar pie’.

Actually … No – I don’t …

But my point is still valid. Nice things make nice pet names. So where the idea to base a pet name on a stinky farm animal comes from is unclear to me. Then again, in the 14th century, the English economy was pretty much pork-based. Thus, calling your beloved pigsney is probably the same today as calling her maybe ‘dollarhead’ … actually – that doesn’t work either …

How to use the word pigsney in a sentence?

This is a difficult one. Terms of endearment are not supposed to be controversial. Then again, swine aside, it does sort of sound like a cute word. Pigsney is for the brave lover, methinks. If you misjudge it, however, you could well be sacrificing the Pigs Eye for the ol’ stink eye …


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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