A Misunderstood Word
Posted on 24 October 2016
A dictionary definition when referring to a person: Strong, hefty.
ie: “Patrick looked a husky, strong guy”.
Synonyms: muscular, big, brawny, strapping, solid, powerful, sturdy, hefty, robust thickset
Unfortunately, many people today equate the word husky with fat.
I have looked at several traditional dictionary definitions of husky and nowhere do I find the word ‘fat’.
From a boys’ clothing perspective, husky refers to a boy who is a bit shorter than average for his age and is stockier than his peers. Perhaps a bit on the overweight side of things. But definitely not fat. He requires a jacket with a shorter length, one that is correct for his height. The pants will have a slightly shorter rise, also correct for his height. Both jacket and pants will be designed with a bit more room and comfort around the waist and hips to accommodate the stockier build.
But the fact that so many people do equate husky with fat is very hurtful to many of the boys who require a husky fit. Over the years we have worked with boys who are already sensitive to their real or perceived size. Being categorized as ‘husky’ only exacerbates their perception. Quite a few of them have had far too much experience of situations in which they have suffered descriptions that only serve to denigrate them and harm their sometimes fragile egos and self image.
The staff at Crawford Boys is very sensitive to the use of the word husky. We don’t know which boy is sensitive and which is not, so we go out of our way to refrain from using the term or any other that may be a source of pain or embarrassment. Over the years we have come up with some novel means of describing the clothing that the boys need. And we have seen how appreciative many of the boys and their parents have been at our consideration.
The bottom line however is that the term ‘husky’ has morphed from its traditional and often complimentary meaning to one that is definitely uncomplimentary and hurtful. We only wish that others would realize how demoralizing the word husky can be and display more understanding and compassion.