Bette Davis and Joan_Crawford

Bette Davis, the original psycho-biddy.
I mean just look at that crazy mascara.

Function: noun
Etymology: Exact etymology unknown. Combination of the words psycho, from Gr. psychh meaning the soul, the mind, or a person afflicted with psychosis; and biddy, adult female chicken, 1913. Literal meaning of combined words is "crazy chicken."
Date: circa 1960
Definition: 1) a dangerous, insane or mentally unstable woman of advanced years; 2) a colloquial term for a sub-genre of the horror/thriller movie also known by the name "Older Women in Peril," which was most prevalent from the early 1960s through the mid-1970s (see Wikipedia entry).

We watched the film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? a few nights ago and can honestly say that "crazy chicken" does not even begin to describe Bette Davis’s character in the film.  Just the clumped mascara she wore alone is enough to give you the willies.

1 Comment »

  1. I started the Psycho-Biddy article on Wikipedia. I had heard the term used by a co-worker when discussing the genre we both loved. However, when trying to track down the etymology of the term, I asked her where she had heard it– and she said she heard it from me.

    I have in the past coined words and forgotten I had done so, though I’d like to think this isn’t simply a case of my mind playing tricks on me. :-)

    #1 by Tom Russell — April 11, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

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