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Distaff vs. spear-side?

Posted by R. Berg on November 05, 2002

In Reply to: Distaff vs. spear-side? posted by Bookworm on November 04, 2002

: : : : : What is the term for the male side of the family? Thanks in advance.

: : : : Datstaff?
: : : Testosteronians?

: : Remote control?

: : It says here:
: : Quizzes/01nov12.html
: : In heraldry, what is the opposite of distaff, spindle, or female side?

: Distaff can be an adjective as well, so you have distaff side and spear side. What strikes me odd is that distaff is also a noun, but spear is not (at least not one that means "male branch of the family"). I just assumed that there would be an equivalent noun for the male side of the mistake?

Apparently there isn't. "The spear side" is definitely the parallel to "the distaff side," but Webster gives "spear" only in attributive use for that sense. Strangely, the OED has no entry at all for "spear" meaning male, as noun or adjective, although "spear side" with that meaning appears in its discussion of "distaff."

  • P.S. R. Berg 11/05/02
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