Friday, November 23, 2007

Engines of correction

Spot ran across this the other day, a more elaborate definition of the blog's namesake:

cucking-stool   A machine formerly used for the punishment of scolds and brawling women; also a punishment antiently inflicted on brewers and bakers who transgressed the laws, and were, in such a chair or stool, to be ducked and immersed in some muddy or stinking pond. [Also called] a chocking-stool because scolds being thus punished are almost chocked with water ... The Saxons called it scealping stole.

Bailey, Nathaniel. An Universal Etymological English Dictionary, London, 1749.

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