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Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English buxum, buhsum, bucsum (bendsome, flexible, pliant, obedient), (also Middle English ibucsum, ibuhsum, possibly from OE past participal form), from Old English *būhsum (bendsome, pliant) (Old English *ǵebūhsum), a derivative of Old English būgan (to bend, bow), equivalent to bow +‎ -some (būgan +‎ -sum). Cognate with Scots bowsome (compliant), Dutch buigzaam (flexible, pliant) (Middle Dutch boochsaem), German biegsam (flexible, pliant), derived from Dutch buigen and German biegen, and their older forms, respectively.[1][2]


  • IPA(key): /ˈbʌksəm/
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buxom (comparative buxomer or more buxom, superlative buxomest or most buxom)

  1. (obsolete, archaic, rare) Pliant, obedient, tractable (to) (i.e. easily moved or bent, morally).[1]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.8:
      They downe him hold, and fast with cords do bynde, / Till they him force the buxome yoke to beare […].
  2. (obsolete) Submissive, humble, meek (as subsense of 4).[1]
  3. (obsolete) Gracious, indulgent, favourable; obliging, amiable, courteous, affable, kindly (as subsense of 1).[1]
  4. (obsolete) With infinitive: Easily moved, prone, ready (as subsense of 1).[1]
  5. (obsolete, archaic, poetic) Flexible, pliant (arising from sense 1).[1]
  6. (obsolete, archaic) Blithe, gladsome, bright, lively, gay (attested after 1).[1]
  7. (dated, of a man or woman) Cheerful, happy (possibly as subsense of 6).
    • 1932, John Buchan, chapter IV, in The Gap in the Curtain:
      Claypole, the buxom novelist,...[his] bubbling utterances....
  8. (dated, chiefly of women) Full of health, vigour, and good temper; well-favoured, plump and comely, 'jolly', comfortable-looking (in person). (arising from sense 6).[1]
    • 1896, Thomas Hardy, A Group of Noble Dames, "Dame the Eighth: The Lady Penelope,"
      So heated and impassioned, indeed, would they become, that the lady hardly felt herself safe in their company at such times, notwithstanding that she was a brave and buxom damsel, not easily put out, and with a daring spirit of humour in her composition.
    • 1922, Sinclair Lewis, “26”, in Babbitt:
      He had not seen Zilla since Paul had shot her, and he still pictured her as buxom, high-colored, lively, and a little blowsy.
  9. (of a woman) Having a full, voluptuous figure, especially possessing large breasts (as subsense of 8).
    • 2003, "Milestones," Time, 23 Jul.,
      DIED. Robert Brooks, 69, canny businessman who, as chairman of Hooters, turned the bar-restaurant chain, famed for buxom waitresses in orange hot pants, into an international success.


Derived termsEdit


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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 'buxum, adj.' (2018). In: Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. URL:
  2. ^ Klein, Ernest. (1969 (1965)). A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. Dealing with the origin of words and their sense development thus illustrating the history of civilization and culture. Vol. I A-K. II vols. Elsevier Publishing Company.