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Happy Birthday, cooner!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

downhaggered
Disconsolate.
--Edward Slow's Glossary of Wiltshire Words, Used by the Peasantry in the Neighbourhood of Salisbury, c. 1900


Feast Day of St. Wilgefortis
(meaning "strong virgin"), whom women invoked for protection against "troublesome husbands," earning her the nickname St. Uncumber. According to Church legend, Wilgefortis was a bellibone (a sixteenth-century corruption of the French belle et bonne, "beautiful and good") who prayed for and apparently received a beard, helping her to avoid suitors and lead a life of minimal temptation. Ivor Brown wrote in Chosen Words (1955) that she "seems to have had a curious and somewhat farmyard appetite since the usual offering, made by wives in search of conjugal relief, was a gift of grain." According to this legend, if an unhappily married woman left a peck of oats at one of St. Uncumber's shrines, the saint would provide a horse upon which the evil husband might ride to the devil. Brown's sketch concluded, "The functions of St. Uncumber have now been largely taken over by those legal gentlemen who cumber themselves with wigs."

Man, how specific a book is Glossary of Wiltshire Words, Used by the Peasantry in the Neighbourhood of Salisbury?

-The Gneech

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
laurie_robey
Jul. 20th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
St. Wilgefortis?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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