Monday, April 13, 2009

The Word-Hoard: Corsned

Corsned: In Old English law, the "morsel of trial," a piece of bread of about an ounce weight consecrated by exorcism which an accused person was required to swallow as a trial of his guilt or innocence. (Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1893); The words of consecration were, "May this morsel cause convulsions and find no passage if the accused is guilty, but turn to wholesome nourishment if he is innocent." Corned, the "cursed mouthful," [is from] Saxon corse, curse; snaed, mouthful. (Ebenezer Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898).

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