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Yesterday, my 10-year-old son Kellen asked why the word "women" has the word "men" at the end. He wanted to know "how, why, and where" the word "women" originated and why the word "men", when adding a "wo" defines "women".

I asked mom (Wilma Mankiller). She had no idea and suggested I contact you. Thanks for any help you can give with this question. - Gina

Thanks for your note. I wish I had a better answer to your sonís question. "Women" - actually comes from two different places (both Old English):

1.) "Woman" is simply female person (opposed to man, which was first just "person" and then later "male person")

2.) The second is from an old English word "wyfman", which means female woman of the house.

Ugh!!! For these reasons, some women have opted to change the spelling of women - to "womyn" or "wimmin" so as to divorce themselves from the male connection. Unfortunately, I guess we just have to show them through our personal examples that it means something very powerful and unique.

I hope all is well with you and your mother and your son.


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