Someone tousling another’s hair would simply leave it disheveled. Think of it as more of a soft noogie. Meanwhile, a tussle with someone’s hair? Sounds like a battle a hairdresser would do with unruly hair. And it sounds so violent. It would mess up their hair even more.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Noun; Verb, transitive
Alternative spelling: touzle
|Noun; Verb, intransitive|
An act of tousling something, especially hair
To disorder or dishevel
To handle roughly
A vigorous, sometimes rough, struggle or scuffle, typically in order to obtain or achieve something
Any vigorous or determined struggle, conflict, etc.
Annie reached up behind his head and gave his hair a tousle.
He’d gently brush back my tousle.
Nathan’s tousled head appeared in the hatchway.
The wind tousled our hair.
There was a tussle for the ball.
I had quite a tussle with that chemistry exam.
|History of the Word:|
|Late Middle English in the sense of handle roughly or rudely. Expressing frequent repetition or intensity of action, a.k.a., frequentative, of dialect touse meaning handle roughly of Germanic origin and related to the German zausen.||Both noun and verb are late Middle English. The verb was originally Scots and northern English, perhaps a diminutive of dialect touse meaning handle roughly.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?