It’s All About How You Say It

February 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Notes on the Definition and Origin of Prude

The word prude has been thrown my way on more than one occasion.  Usually involving some adolescent dare ( I usually chose truth), or an overzealous friend trying to persuade me to do something I wasn’t too crazy about doing.  Needless to say it was always said with disdain, disapproval, and downright insult.  Even now, a simple search for the word prude pulls up many references that are not-so-flattering and perhaps evoke images of old matronly types who hide behind white lace curtains hissing and pointing fingers at their neighbors.  Oh, and likely this conjured image is wearing a bun of some sorts.

So now you are probably asking yourself, “why is it that someone as young (and I stress young) and cosmopolitan (yes I said cosmopolitan) as you, would want to be associated with such a drab word?”  Well, the more I thought about, and I’ve had a few years to think about it.  The more I came to see the word prude as more than just a reproach.  I actually find it quite charming.  You see the word prude was originally given as a compliment to a “wise or prudent woman” one who was seen as honorable.  And the term prudent which prude forms the base word for is often used to describe someone who is wise in handling practical matters or exercises sound judgment.

As I scanned over these definitions, the whole stigma of a woman easily offended by discussions of sex, judgmental, and polite to the point of pretentiousness faded.  What I saw was someone I’d like to be.  Wise in practical matters.  This blog, is not a how-to on living a prudent life, but more so reflections on my journey through life’s practical matters.  From grocery shopping and finances; to current events and creative exercises, I hope to revise our assumptions about the word prude, and bring it to a new place in our 21st century vocabularies.  One that is exciting, empowering and relevant to the everyday.  Thank you for joining me and don’t forget to tell me what you think.


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