All wool and a yard wide…Posted: November 23, 2011
…apparently means “genuine, of real quality; no sham or substitute”. It is “a term derived from the garment industry… Since material that was made of one consistent fibre, such as wool, was often thought of as being best for clothing, and since fabric that was made in yard widths was best for hand tailors to work on, this was considered the criteria [sic] for excellence.” I shall start employing the phrase as frequently as possible.
I also didn’t know:
Bunting. In Somersetshire bunting means sifting flour. Sieves were at one time made of a strong gauzy woollen cloth, which was tough and capable of resisting wear. It has been suggested that this material was found suitable for flags, and that the name for the stuff of which they are now made is due to this.
Statute cap. A woollen cap ordered by a statute of Queen Elizabeth in 1571 to be worn on holidays by all citizens for the benefit of the woollen trade. To a similar end, persons were at one time obliged to be buried in woollens.
Great cry and little wool. A proverbial saying expressive of contempt or derision for one who promises great things but never fulfils the promises.
Originally the proverb ran, ‘Great cry and little wool, as the Devil said when he sheared the hogs”; and it appears in this form in the ancient mystery of David and Abigail, in which Nabal is represented as shearing his sheep, and the Devil imitates the act by “shearing a hog,”
Thou wilt at best but suck a bull,
Or shear swine, all cry and no wool.
BUTLER- Hudibras, I, i, 851.
He has undone her girdle. Taken her for his wife. The Roman bride wore a chaplet of flowers on her head, and a girdle of sheep’s wool about her waist. A part of the marriage ceremony was for the bridegroom to loose this.
And this variant:
Herculean knot . A snaky complication on the rod or caduceus of Mercury, adopted by the Grecian brides as the fastening of their woollen girdles, which only the bridegroom was allowed to untie. As he did so he invoked Juno to render his marriage as fruitful as that of Hercules, whose numerous wives all had families. Amongst his wives were the fifty daughters of Thestms, all of whom conceived in one night. See KNOT.
He obviously didn’t have a knot in it. More I didn’t know:
Hippocrates sleeve. A woollen bag of a square piece of flannel, having the opposite corners joined, so as to make it triangular. Used by chemists for straining syrups, decoctions, etc., and anciently by vintners.
London Bridge was built upon woolpacks. An old saying commemorating the fact that in the reign of Henry II the new stone bridge over the Thames was paid for by a tax on wool.
A superior kind of shoddy, made from second-hand woollens, is known as mungo.
I knew this, though:
Shoddy. Worthless stuff masquerading as something that is really good; from the cheap cloth called shoddy which is made up out of cloth from old garments torn to pieces and shredded, mixed with new wool.
But not these:
To beat the tar out of. To belabour, or beat without mercy. The phrase possibly originated in the attempt to free a sheep’s wool from the tar applied to heal any cuts received during shearing.
Tweed, The origin of this name of a woollen cloth used for garments is to be found in a blunder. It should have been tweal, the Scots form of twill; but when the Scotch manufacturer sent a consignment to James Locke, of London, m 1826, the name was badly written and misread ; and as the cloth was made on the banks of the Tweed, tweed was accordingly adopted. Twill, like dimity (#.v.), means “two-threaded.”
Worsted (wer’ sted). Yarn or thread made of wool; so called from Worsted, a village near Norwich, once the centre of an extensive woollen-weaving industry. The name occurs as early as the 13th century.
All from Brewers online.
The hats have arrived! (that was quick, they left London after 5pm yesterday) and, thank goodness, it is claimed that they fit!! All wool, and the width of the heads. Phew.