Look up Deedy in Websters Dictionary and you will see the following definition - \Deed"y\, a. Industrious; active. [R.] --Cowper. But to me Deedy is simply my last name and not a very common one at that. My Father always said "find yourself in a strange city? Open a phone book, find a Deedy and give them a call - chances are they are a relative." So, for all the Deedy's out there hello and welcome.

Musing on the use of deedy in the English language

Deedy is not a word you hear everyday, but it does pop up every now and then. I was reading a book the other day and came across this sentence... No progress was made by their deedy labours.

I recall the first time I saw the use of deedy as a word rather than a name. I was reading Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy and came across this passage:

“Ah!” said his aunt, suspending her breath. And she opened upon him a lecture on how she would now have him all the spring upon her hands doing nothing. “If you can’t skeer birds, what can ye do? There! don’t ye look so deedy! Farmer Troutham is not so much better than myself, come to that. But ’tis as Job said, ‘Now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.’ His father was my father’s journeyman, anyhow, and I must have been a fool to let ‘ee go to work for ‘n, which I shouldn’t ha’ done but to keep ‘ee out of mischty.”

Thomas Hardy liked to use the word deedy - here is another example from The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid.

Instead of a Baron there stood Jim, white-waistcoated, demure, every hair in place, and, if she mistook not, even a deedy spark in his eye.

Deedy is always used as an adjective and is almost always positive. It causes me to wonder which was first the name or the word? Did the individual with the name define the word? I guess we will never really know. Here is one last example of deedy used in a sentence...

National Review; 12/31/2004; Derbyshire, John

THE novelist Ivy Compton-Burnett, asked by the London Times to give a brief account of her life, replied: "There's not much to say. I haven't been at all deedy."

Deedy! This is one of those words that, once you have seen them, make you wonder why they aren't in everyday use. The job interviewer, going through a pile of submitted resumes: "This one's all right, but ... no, not deedy enough." The biographer or obituarist: "The next few years were his deediest ..." The self-improvement guru: "Deediness depends on a positive attitude!" The psychiatrist's patient: "I married George because he seemed so deedy, but ..."

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