Word Wednesday: Abacot

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Devil's Dictionary Image
Screen Capture
Ambrose Bierce
The Devil’s Dictionary

Generations of reference books once included this term, including the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, dated 1771 […]

James Murray, the famous editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, found that the original word was bycoket, which was indeed a form of headgear, a cap or headdress with a peak both in front and behind, whose name he thought derived from an Old French term for a small castle crowning a hill. He declared abacot to be a ghost word and wrote in an article in [T]he Athenaeum in February 1882:

“There is not, never was, such a word.”

His entry for abacot in the first edition of the OED read in its entirity [sic] “a spurious word found in many dictionaries, originating in a misprint of bycoket.” In the bycoket entry, he told the story:

Through a remarkable series of blunders and ignorant reproductions of error, this word appears in modern dictionaries as abacot. In Hall’s Chronicles a bicocket appears to have been misprinted abococket, which was copied by Grafton, altered by Holinshed to abococke, and finally “improved” by Abraham Fleming to abacot (perhaps through an intermediate abacoc) […]

One may instead argue that since the word has — albeit rarely — been used, then it exists and ought to be treated as such. There is, after all, no shortage of words that have been grossly altered through popular error. The revision of its entry in the Oxford English Dictionary in December 2011 takes this view […]

Michael Quinion
Weird Words (Abacot)
World Wide Words
April 15, 2006 (Updated: June 23, 2012)

You want to know what an abacot/bycoket is? Think Robin Hood. ~Vic

52 thoughts on “Word Wednesday: Abacot

    David Redpath said:
    September 1, 2021 at 6:51 PM

    I wonder if old Davy Crockett
    wore a raccoon skin bycocket 🤔

    David Redpath said:
    September 1, 2021 at 7:28 PM

    If you believe the fables
    Robin Hood was a noble
    and likely wore a bycocket
    if, and when, he was able 😎

    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    September 1, 2021 at 9:03 PM

    A ghost word. What a description.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 3, 2021 at 12:54 AM

      Yeah. James Murray was not happy.

    charliecountryboy said:
    September 2, 2021 at 2:32 AM

    Aha, now once I had seen the image of Robin Hood it was much easier to visualise this abacot. It must have been popular during the Elizabethan era, I’m sure Black Adder (Rowan Atkinson) wore one in the second series 🤔 I’m sure you’d still spot an abacot or two at Royal Ascot on Ladies Day😉 Interesting 😀

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 3, 2021 at 2:57 AM

      What is Ladies Day?

        charliecountryboy said:
        September 3, 2021 at 10:58 AM

        Most racecourses, but especially the larger meetings such as Royal Ascot, Gold Cup day, have a Ladies Day. Where all the ladies dress up in their finest attire. Some poet from the 1800s coined the phrase when he said the ladies looked like Angels. But they always do, don’t they? 😉

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 3, 2021 at 9:37 PM

          Sounds interesting. I doubt I have anything that would rival the attire of rich Brits.

            charliecountryboy said:
            September 4, 2021 at 2:21 AM

            Ach, you’d be fine lassy, it’s not just for the rich (well it is in the royal enclosure) The rest of us just put our best frock on. Obviously in my case it’s a suit 😂

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              September 6, 2021 at 12:18 AM

              You are very kind.

    badfinger20 (Max) said:
    October 3, 2021 at 10:51 PM

    Well thank you teacher Vic! Not a word you hear every day!

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      October 4, 2021 at 12:20 AM

      I’m a big Ambrose Bierce fan. And, there were many “scholars” that claimed it wasn’t a word at all. LOL!

        badfinger20 (Max) said:
        October 4, 2021 at 12:23 AM

        LOL… I do like learning new words!

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          October 4, 2021 at 12:27 AM

          How goes work? I’ve been busy as shit, too.

            badfinger20 (Max) said:
            October 4, 2021 at 12:31 AM

            I’ve been so so so busy. I got the new guy….24 year old…responsible guy…he is not a barrel of laughs but a really nice guy. I can tell he was raised right. They would not pay for experience of course.
            He undersold his self in the interview…I give him so much freedom he doesn’t know what to think. He just came from a place where he was micromanaged….I’m totally opposite.

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              October 4, 2021 at 12:41 AM

              He’s probably in shock…and a victim of today’s working climate. He was probably left with the impression, from the previous job, that he wasn’t talented enough. Integrity is, sadly, a rare quality.

                badfinger20 (Max) said:
                October 4, 2021 at 12:43 AM

                He was stuck on software that the company made so it would not translate any where else…I told him he arrived at a perfect time with Azure…I said stay here 3-5 years and he will be able to get anything…NOW…that we are getting out of Server 2003

                  The Hinoeuma responded:
                  October 4, 2021 at 1:02 AM

                  Oh, I am so familiar with that. DMV had some funky proprietary software, crafted by some jack-legs in Raleigh. They honestly thought they could get off-the-shelf software and manipulate it to work with an old, AS/400 mainframe. When that didn’t work, they had to call in outsiders to program from the ground up. GOD, what a mess that was.

                  Folks, it’s a really, really bad idea to take mainframe data, that is nearly impervious to hacking (unless you know that COBOL back door) and try to link it to servers…that ARE hackable.

                  Their closing act was to try to string together all of the above with a third party payment system using chewing gum and baling wire. Those poor Microsoft computers had to toggle between its own system, a TN3270 terminal emulation system, a scheduling system for customers and the payment system. There were FUBAR crashes, daily.

                    badfinger20 (Max) said:
                    October 4, 2021 at 1:04 AM

                    WE have an AS400 machine! But the guy who did it retired last year…we don’t use it much anymore…we ran into some of that shit…I said screw it and asked the programmer to do the same tasks in SQL…he did.

                    Yea they don’t mix!

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 4, 2021 at 1:57 AM

                      I wish I could remember COBOL.

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 4, 2021 at 8:53 AM


                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 4, 2021 at 11:50 PM

                      Because I worked in it for quite a while and I’m embarrassed that I don’t remember it. I remember when Y2K was the freak out and all the COBOL programmers were being called back, naming their price. I coulda been rich! LOL!

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 5, 2021 at 12:30 AM

                      LOL…if you remember and get rich…remember me please! You already gave me pants and a scarf but hey…I’m greedy

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 5, 2021 at 6:25 PM

                      I gave you pants? What did I send? I remember the Macy’s scarf but, I’m drawing a blank on pants…

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 5, 2021 at 7:09 PM

                      In the dream doofus! LOL

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 5, 2021 at 8:06 PM

                      OH YEAH! LMAO!!! DUH-HUH!

                      If you ask me for underwear, you’re not going to like what I give you…LOL

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 5, 2021 at 9:12 PM

                      LOL… well its funny…I didn’t want to tell you the other.day… its soooo me. It just sounds bad but it was innocent. When I walked out of the room…oh I hate saying this…it…may not have been yours lol…a bra was in the back pocket…you know what I thought? OH SHIT…she is going to think I’m a perv….I REALLY thought that in my dream. That sums me up in real life also.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 5, 2021 at 10:37 PM

                      Why? Did you think I would have a bad reaction or something? Dreams are odd things. Unless you are a psychic, most of them won’t make any sense.

                      They probably weren’t mine but, they were there and they covered your butt…so…there’s that. LOL! Just FYI…I gave up on bras years ago. My last three died of starvation.

                      Maybe my house, in the dream, had had a party and there were clothes, everywhere. Could have been anyone’s bra…

                      I would never think you a perv…

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 5, 2021 at 10:39 PM

                      I’m shy believe it or not…I don’t mention things like that lol. I don’t want it interpreted the wrong way…well…what I told you about my dream! I even do it there lol
                      My mom raised me too well in that respect.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 5, 2021 at 10:47 PM

                      You are a good boy…little brother…

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 5, 2021 at 11:08 PM

                      No I’m not…well in situations like that..I am…I don’t want to send the wrong vibes

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 6, 2021 at 11:10 PM

                      Well. some folks will interpret things all wrong, anyway.

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 7, 2021 at 3:55 AM

                      I know…I should just let it go and not worry about it. The more I try to explain at times the guiltier things sound…not in this case because you know me.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 7, 2021 at 1:48 PM

                      Well…you’re still a good boy, despite your protestations. 😁 You are just a dude with dude thoughts. 😆

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 7, 2021 at 6:07 PM

                      LOL…I never heard that before

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 7, 2021 at 2:21 PM

                      I picked that line up from a high school buddy. He’d say “I’m just a dude with dude thoughts.” 😆

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 7, 2021 at 3:27 PM

                      lol…i tend to think too much into it. My problem is if I say anything…I automatically think people are going to think the worse…and 99 percent of the time…they don’t.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 7, 2021 at 4:51 PM

                      Well, you can’t control what other people think. Hamstringing your own personality is not healthy for you. I’m a big “speak freely” type with respect. I don’t like people yelling (which usually means they can’t articulate why they may disagree with you) and I abhor violence. More often than not, a bad reaction is more a reflection on the person reacting badly than you. Besides, we live in a twisted society that infantilizes people, making them react like angry toddlers with wet diapers. You keep being you. I think you are wonderful.

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 7, 2021 at 5:40 PM

                      I hate confrontation….I mean hate it. I twist and turn…now when I’m pushed too far…yea I see red…never violent… I spanked Bailey…that is about the most violent I’ve been lol…and he was 8. Never had to do it again…I said spank….not beat…
                      Thank you Vic

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 7, 2021 at 11:08 PM

                      I’m not fond of confrontations, either. Anything can be settled with proper discussion. I’m also a big advocate of “agree to disagree.” No two people will agree on everything…ever.

                      A good set of parents won’t have to spank much, if at all.


                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 7, 2021 at 11:17 PM

                      We didn’t…it was interesting. Bailey decided to test me in front of relatives I asked him to pick up his toys…he defied me in front of everyone…light spanking in his room…I wouldn’t do it in front of anyone. A little later…he did it again…and again I took him to the room…it surprised him.
                      Then…you guessed it…he did it AGAIN…took him back there and told him I could do this all night. After that night…he never crossed me again…ever….not even in the slightest. We joke about it now but it really hurt me much more than him…that part is true.
                      It’s like we had it out that night and never had to go there again.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 7, 2021 at 11:32 PM

                      Awwww… I think every kid challenges their parents. I remember being told that I couldn’t have an ice cream sandwich when I wanted it. So, when neither parent was around, I snatched it out of the freezer, hid in a corner in the next room and ate it. A missing ice cream sandwich is a “crime scene” tag. 😄 I got the belt for that. I also tried to hide underneath my bed. That just made my dad even more angry. My mom intervened and said “That’s enough, Eddie.”

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 8, 2021 at 3:36 AM

                      Oh yea…red or sticky handed…you might as well waved a flag.

                      I had the belt on me a few times…I never did that lol…Bailey was a better kid than me. Speaking of the devil I had to go to his college tonight…his battery was dead….I told him…son do you not have friends? lol….all of them lived further away.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 8, 2021 at 12:03 AM

                      LOL! It’s been a long time since I’ve heard “speaking of the devil” (or, read, in this case).

                      Yep. Dad is closer. “Oh, Daaaaaaad…” LOL!

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 8, 2021 at 12:10 AM

                      I was pissed…a come to Jesus meeting in the works…but I got there and fixed the damn situation lol

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 8, 2021 at 1:54 AM

                      Give some gospel to Bailey?

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 8, 2021 at 8:33 AM

                      In a matter of speaking lol…oh I was mad.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 8, 2021 at 1:54 PM

                      He needs to take better care of his vehicle?

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      October 8, 2021 at 2:21 PM

                      No… he said his friend won’t be out of class until 7 or so…well naturally I thought he friend would come and jump his car off…then I found out his friend was taking an online course at home not near him. Bailey hates asking people for help unless their names are Jen and Max.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      October 8, 2021 at 2:35 PM


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