Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Ecdysiast - A Stripper By Any Other Name

A neon stripper sign
Business at The Legless Stripper has never been better
(photo by Duncan C)


A striptease artist.

You know that awkward situation when you're talking to someone that takes their clothes off for a living, but you're not sure of the politically correct term for their line of work? Stripper? Exotic dancer? Burlesque performer? Well, let Lexicolatry peel away that social discomfort, because the proper term for such a person is an ecdysiast, and the art or occupation in general is ecdysiasm.

The word is derived from the Greek ekduein (to put off, shed), and follows the pattern of the English words enthusiast and the similarly derived ecdysis, defined as the 'action or process of shedding an outer skin or integument, as in insects, reptiles, etc.' However, it might be better not to think about this etymological entomological herpetological connection because ... well ... call me old fashioned, but the thought of snakes, insects and dead skin suddenly makes ecdysiasm sound just a little bit ick.

A snake shedding its skin
A snake doing its ecdysis.
(photo by Jen Goelinitz)
 Do please strip down your most neon comments in the box below. 


  1. The more native English term for 'shedding of skin' particularly of reptiles is "slough" or "sluff" (verb and noun). One of the first things you used to learn when doing your nurse training was patient bedsores or pressure sores and "sluff" is the term to describe any layer of dead skin on a wound.

    1. Well this just gets unsexier by the minute ...