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midshipwoman1

noun Analogy
A female member of the U.S. Navy ROTC
 
University students in the Navy ROTC have the official naval rank of “Midshipman” and are addressed as “Midshipman [Last Name].” In an effort to be more descriptive and a little bit funny (in poking fun at the military’s male-centered titles), the speaker would have used this new word. It turns out that midshipwomen (so to speak) do not much appreciate being called this because it is seen as demeaning to their rank, so this term is mostly used in conversations that do not involve midshipwomen.
Etymology : Navies as far back as the 1600s used midshipman as a rank. It was coined because these people were stationed amidships, or “in the middle of ships.” The creation of the word follows a pattern that seems to be common in words ending with man because they were traditionally performed by a man, like postman and garbage man. By analogy, if someone is male and a midshipman, than someone performing the same duties but who is a woman should be a midshipwoman, now that women are allowed in those positions.
Source : “How was training this morning, Midshipwoman Gray?” -Me, talking to my suitemate, August 2014
Last modified: 4 December 2016


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