Uxorious is an interesting word. It also comes as an adverb uxoriously, and the noun uxoriousness.
It s origin is from the Latin word uxor – wife. It means a husband’s excessive fondness or love for his wife. It was first used in the 16th Century.
The clue to the negative connotation is the word excessive. To have an excess of love doesn’t automatically mean that this is a bad thing. To have a bit over in itself doesn’t conjure up anything negative. But to have some more love to spend on someone else might do! For the word excess it all depends on context.
Yet for the word excessive there is no such flexibility of context. Excessive means there is too much and its not a good thing. Too much love from a husband to a wife is a bad thing. Too much love from a husband to a wife demeans the husband. He appears weak and submissive. Less of a man.
What a shame that a man should not have a lot of love for his wife. The sexism in language is insidious, and almost unnoticeable. Go to the thesaurus and words like loving, affectionate, devoted, fond, amorous, tender, and rapturous come up. Nothing to remind or connect us to the excessive.
And to have a word that expresses the excessive love from a wife to a husband is not possible. there isn’t one. Is it not worth mentioning? Is it not worth having?
Perhaps it is to be presumed? A wife should always have an excess of love for her husband. This is her role?
Yet even for a wife to have an excessive love for her husband doesn’t sound as bad as a husband’s excessive love for his wife. Here lies the power of patriarchy and sexism in language.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2015
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