missus - is this word inherently pejorative?

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PA_System

Senior Member
Polish
This thread inspired my inquiry.

I've always thought the word "missus" is rather neutral semantically or could even aspire to an endearment. However, after reading the above-mentioned thread I looked it up in an English-Polish dictionary and the definition that I found was the word which is a rather biting term for one's wife. My question is: is the word "missus" pejorative by nature or does it depend on the context, like the thread cited above?
 
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The missus (or the wife) is not a nice way of referring to one's spouse (I never had that problem, as my late husband was Italian). It can however be a bit of a joke, so it really does depend on the context in which it is used.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I certainly wouldn't call it inherently pejorative, any more than referring to one's wife as the/my old lady:)
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    'The missus' is very common in Australia and not generally considered a put-down. 'Wifey' is a bit (or a lot) patronizing. I find Rumpole's (from Rumpole of the Bailey) 'she who must be obeyed' amusing.
     
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    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Because you use as we often use it now in the UK: jokingly or affectionately. It becomes a put-down when it isn't used like that (a rare occurrence these days, one hopes...)..
    I can't remember the last time I heard it used as a put-down in any situation, lc. It has just become a substitute for 'the wife'. :)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I've always heard it as affectionate rather than a put-down. Almost like 'hubby' for 'husband'.

    Sometimes, it can be used neutrally without the in a folksy kind of way ('This is my missus', 'Where's your missus?').
     
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