Cuckold to Cunobelin's Gold Mines

Cuckold (See Actæon .)

Cuckold King
(The). Mark of Cornwall, whose wife Yseult intrigued with Sir Tristram, one of the Knights of the Round Table.

Cuckold's Point A spot on the riverside near Deptford. So called from a tradition that King John made there successful love to a labourer's wife.

Cuckoo A cuckold. The cuckoo occupies the nest and eats the eggs of other birds; and Dr. Johnson says “it was usual to alarm a husband at the approach of an adulterer by calling out `Cuckoo,' which by mistake was applied in time to the person warned.” Green calls the cuckoo “the cuckold's quirister” (Quip for an Upstart Courtier, 1620). This is an instance of how words get in time perverted from their original meaning. The Romans used to call an adulterer a “cuckoo,” as “Te cuculum uxor ex lustris rapit ” (Plautus: Asinaria, v. 3), and the allusion was simple and correct; but Dr. Johnson's explanation will hardly satisfy anyone for the modern perversion of the word.

“The cuckoo, then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo! cuckoo! O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!”
Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost, v. 2.
Cuckoo (A). A watch or clock. The French have the same slang word coucou for a watch or clock. Of course, the word is derived from the German cuckoo-clocks, which, instead of striking the hour, cry cuckoo.

Cuckoo Oats and Woodcock Hay Cuckoo oats and woodcock hay make a farmer run away. If the spring is so backward that oats cannot be sown till the cuckoo is heard (i.e. April), or if the autumn is so wet that the aftermath of hay cannot be got in till woodcock shooting (middle of November), the farmer must be a great sufferer.

Cuckoo-Spit “Frog-Spit,” or “Froth-Spit.” The spume which forms the uidus of an insect called the Cicada Spumaria, or, more strictly speaking, the Cercopis Spumaria (one of the three divisions of the Cicadariæ). This spume is found on lavender-bushes, rosemary, fly-catch, and some other plants. Like the cochineal, the cicada spumaria exudes a foam for its own warmth, and for protection during its transition state. The word “cuckoo” in this case means spring or cuckoo-time.

Cucumber Time The dull season in the tailoring trade. The Germans call it Die saure Gurken Zeit (pickled gherkin time). Hence the expression Tailors are vegetarians, because they live on “cucumber” when without work, and on “cabbage” when in full employ. (Notes and Queries.)

Cuddy An ass; a dolt. A gipsy term, from the Persian gudda and the Hindustanee ghudda (an ass).

“Hast got thy breakfast, brother cuddy?”
D. Wingate.
Cudgel One's Brains (To). To make a painful effort to remember or understand something. The idea is from taking a stick to beat a dull boy under the notion that dulness is the result of temper or inattention.

“Cudgel thy brains no more about it; for our dull ass will not mend his place with beating.” - Shakespeare: Hamlet, v. 1.
Cudgels To take up the cudgels. To maintain an argument or position. To fight, as with a cudgel, for one's own way.

“For some reason he did not feel as hot to take up the cudgels for Almira with his mother.” - M. E. Wilkins: A Modern Dragon.
Cue (1 syl.). The tail of a sentence (French, queue), the catch-word which indicates when another actor is to speak; a hint; the state of a person's temper, as “So-and-so is in a good cue (or) bad cue.”

“When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer.” - Shakespeare: Midsummer Night's Dream, iv. 1.
   To give the cue. To give the hint. (See above.)

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.