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Gammer Gurton's Needle
written by "Art, Mr. S. Mr. of"
... monks forget prayer and fasting over Ruus' exquisite cookery. Strife and wantonness creep in, and the monks are all but lost, when a peasant who has involuntarily overheard a conclave of devils discussing Ruus, discloses his true nature. The abbot, summoning all the monks into the church, seizes Ruus, transforms him into a red horse, and commits him to the power of hell (Herford). There are several versions, the earliest known English one bearing date 1620, but the Stationers' Company registers show it as entered in 1568-9. That the story was extremely popular is obvious from numerous contemporary allusions. Gaffer, formerly a respectful address, but now in contempt: a corruption of granfer, itself a corruption of grandfather. The co-relative is gammer (q.v.). Gammer, an old wife, old lady: formerly, like gaffer (which see), a respectful address. Gammer = grammer = grandmother. Gear, a word, if not of-all-work, with plenty to do—goods, property in general, outfit, tools, necessaries, materials, stuffs, matters, business, affairs, manners, habits, customs, rubbish, trash—all are included: sometimes = affair, contention. Gib, (a) a generic name for male cats: hence a common reproach. (b) "To set the gib forward" = to expedite matters: proverbial. Gis, Gys, Jis, &c., Jesus: supposed by some to be a corruption of the letters I.H.S. anciently set on altars, covers of books, &c., to denote the name of Jesus: rather, however, from the name itself. Gitten, got. Glay, see Cham. Glooming, sulking: cf. "glum." God, "God 'ield you" (p. 143a), i.e. God yield you = God reward you: the compositor has duplicated the d of God in the next word: cf. Good den, God deven = good e'en. Gog's (passim), God's. Thus, Gog's blest, Gog's bones, Gog's bread, Gog's cross, Gog's malison, Gog's sacrament, Gog's sides, Gog's soul, Gog's wounds. Good, property. Gossip, a sponsor in baptism: hence an intimate acquaintance, neighbour. Grammercy, a...

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