Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Klootchman

KLOOTCHMAN

[KLOOTCH-man] or [KLOOTSH’-man] — noun, adjective.

Meaning: Woman, female, wife.

Origin: Chinook klootchamen ; Nootka hlotssma ; Toquaht klutsma - woman, wife > Possibly influenced by English man; woman.

Klootchman is used to mean "a woman", though a more direct translation of its use would be "female", since it is commonly uses to refer to the female version of something.

Historically, “klootchman” only referred to a First Nations adult woman, unless combined with another word, such as “Kingchauch klootchman” (Englishwoman) “Boston klootchman” (American woman), or some other descriptor, such as “tenas klootchman” (girl; young woman). The word was also found in several kinship terms, including “tenas yaka tenas klootchman" (granddaughter), "klootchman yaka mama" (mother-in-law), and "klootchman yaka ats" (sister-in-law). It was even used in titles, such as “hyas klootchman tyee” (Great Woman Ruler) the historic title used for Queen Victoria of England.

Normally a noun, “klootchman” can be used as an adjective to denote female or feminine traits, such as “kahkwa klootchman” (womanly), or female creatures, like “klootchman mowitch” (doe), “klootchman itswoot” (sow bear), “klootchman moos-moos” (cow), and “klootchman kiuatan (mare).

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While “klootchman” would generally mean "woman", and could also mean "women", although an "-s" might be added for the plural sense as with words like tillikum(s) and whiteman(s).

Klootchman is still used in some areas and with older people of an English-speaking background to mean a First Nations woman, or to refer to the wives and women attached to a certain group in a joking way. Unlike its male equivalent, “siwash”, klootchman does not generally have a derisive tone when used.

Klootchman may bare some of its origins in the word “kloshe” (good), as in “a good 'man' to have around", or "someone who makes you feel good", but this etymology is highly speculative.