How did the word “hoyden” originate and What does hoyden mean?

The most interesting story of the probable source of the word “hoyden” is the one that connects it with heathen.

Formerly the word did not apply chiefly to a boisterous or ill-mannered girl, as it does now, but denoted an awkward lout, an ignorant boor of either sex.

Persons of such uncouthness, in olden days, were commonly those who dwelt far from the villages and towns and had little contact with persons of refinement.

Such were the folks who dwelt far from neighbors upon the heath; they were the last to hear of new things, and, thus, being the last to learn of Christianity, gave rise to our word heathen. (See PAGAN.) Now the former Dutch word for heathen was hey den.

Thanks to the nearness of Holland to the English coast, it is likely that the Dutch word, slightly altered in pronunciation, passed over to England.

There, although still applied to the rustic clown, male or female, who haled from the lonely heath, it became hoyden or hoiden.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

Leave a Comment