Weekly Word: Hoyden


It’s that time of week again where I share a word that I find interesting.

This week’s Weekly Word is: hoyden


Part of Speech



ˈhɔɪd(ə)n| hoy·​den | ˈhȯi-dᵊn



  1. A high spirited, boisterous, or carefree girl or woman
  2. A girl or woman who acts saucily
  3. A girl her behaves in a bold or boyish manner; a tomboy

Related Words

  • hoydenish (adjective)
  • hoydenishly (adverb)
  • hoydenishness (noun)
  • hoydenism (noun)
  • hoydenhood (noun)

Word Origin

From the late 16th century – 1585-95 – it originally denoted a rude or ignorant youth. It’s thought to probably be from Middle Dutch heiden / heyden, meaning, heathen.


hoiden, tomboy, romp, spitfire, ladette, gamine, meg, pixie (or pixy), bobby-soxer, junior miss, schoolgirl, teenybopper, filly, girl, lass, lassie, miss, missy, nymph, sheila [Australian & New Zealand]


prude, damsel, maiden, innocent

Use the Word

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Photo by Flavia Jacquier on Pexels.com

Well, Kit thought, as she stomped out of the house, if they thought her behaviour to be hoydenish and unacceptable, then so be it. She no longer cared what they thought. Their views on how a ‘proper lady’ should behave were outdated and unwelcome. She was no delicate flower, just waiting for her perfect prince to come and rescue her.

Her body was her own, and it was her choice who she shared it with. Her mind was her own, and she would speak her thoughts out loud to whomever she wished. She would play whatever so-called ‘mannish’ sports took her fancy, and she would laugh and dance and find joy to her hearts content.

She accepted it. She was a hoyden and she would embrace her hoydenism with open arms.


I like the word ‘hoyden’ but the feminist in me scowls at the fact that it has historically been used as a put down, a criticism, of girls and women who fail to act in the ladylike manner expected in a male-dominated society. The thoughts of the hoyden in the story very much echo my own.

If you would like to join in with this activity in any way, feel free to do so. You could either share a Weekly Word of your own – this week beginning with the letter H – or you could use my word, or Millie Thom’s, as inspiration for a post. This could be a piece of poetry, flash fiction, or any form of prose you choose. Just share a link in the comments so we can see what you’ve been up to!

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