Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wednesday's Word

is bag of nails

American thieves' cant. Confusion; topsy-turveydom; from "bacchanals".

Apparently, in London, boys would gather around the windows of pastrycook shops and surreptitiously nail the coat-tails of onlookers to the sills of the window frames. The victims would have to tear their coats to free themselves of the nails....... and this was recorded by William Hone in 1826 in his "Every-Day Book ......of Popular Entertainments".
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