Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Oct 25 14:20:25 UTC 2008

At 10/25/2008 12:58 AM, Your Name wrote:

>Did my question about the origin of "mobcap" ever run?  I dont'  remember
>seeing it, nor getting any answers.

You must have missed this, from me, on Mon, 20 Oct 2008:

OED lays a long and twisty trail (and circular, if one takes the
wrong branch).  It gives us Mab[el], perhaps.  And mop also, perhaps.

mob cap [< MOB n.1 + CAP n.1
   Dutch mop and mopmuts woman's bonnet (< moppen to wrap around,
cover up + muts: see MUTCH n.) are probably unrelated.]

Then mob n.1 [Variant of MAB n.1; perhaps compare earlier MOBLE v.
   With sense 3, compare later MOB CAP n.]

Which can mean:
1. A wench, a slattern; a promiscuous woman; a prostitute. Obs.
2. A loose informal garment for a woman; a dishabille. Also mob-dress. Obs.

Then mab n.1 [Origin uncertain; perhaps < the female forename Mab,
shortened in Middle English < Mabel (originally with short a) <
Amabel. Compare MAB v., and the later variant MOB n.1; also MABBLE v., MOBLE v.
   Compare also:
   1599 SHAKESPEARE Romeo & Juliet I. iv. 90 That very Mab
that..bakes the Elklocks in foule sluttish haires.
   For a summary of (ultimately unconvincing) suggestions which have
frequently been made of a Celtic etymology for this use, sometimes
drawing attention also to quot. 1557-8 at sense 1, see the Arden
Shakespeare edition (ed. B. Gibbons, 1980) 109; compare also Eng.
Dial. Dict. s.v. Mab led.
   For sense 2 'a mop' in N.E.D. (1904) s.v. Mab sb. see pitch mab n.
at PITCH n.1 Compounds 2.]

Which means
1. A slattern; a promiscuous woman. [also Obs.]


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