Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 16:37:40 -0600
From: Joan Houston Hall jdhall[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Subject: Fw: circe, sirsee
This is a message I passed on the the person who queried this a couple of
The Dictionary of American Regional English files have anecdotal evidence
for the term "sirsee" (variously spelled "circe," "circi," "surcy") from NC,
SC, GA, and PA, as well as two reports from Buffalo, NY and Oklahoma, where
the speakers were said to come from "someplace else." All evidence is oral,
so the spellings are speakers' attempts to represent the pronunciation. The
etymology is uncertain, but one plausible source is the Scots verb "sussie,"
meaning 'to take trouble, to care, to bother oneself.' This probably came
to Scotland from the French "souci," meaning 'care, trouble.'
The term seems to be especially well known in Columbia, SC, where it is
strongly associated with a women's college. Michael Montgomery of the
English Department of the University of SC has reported its use there.
We at DARE would be interested in whatever documentation or anecdotal
evidence you have for the use of the word (time, place, examples).
Joan Hall, Associate Editor, DARE