Hassock is a very old word indeed, recorded in English at least as early as the tenth century. Derived from the Welsh, hassock refers to a clump of sedges or a tuft of grass in boggy ground. Sometimes the word is also used for a clump of trees in sedge or wetland brush. In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, hassock refers specifically to cushions of roots interlaced with soil out of which cedars grow in the areas called hard-bottom swamps. Tussock, which is probably derived from the word tusk, refers only to clumps or tufts of grass, sedge, or sprouts; however, the two words are often used interchangeably.

Robert Morgan