Jonathon Green slang at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK
Mon Aug 20 09:04:57 UTC 2001

Lord Derby was, I fear, teasing those he doubtless saw as gullible Yanks.
Far from the creation of the supposed 'Billy Cocks', the 'billycock' has
been around since the early 18C and is a hat with a low crown; primarily
worn by carters, it was also popular among the clergy; thus the _billycock
gang_, the clergy as a group. The ety., as far as it is known, seems to
relate to _bully-cocked_, i.e. after the fashion of a bully (either a thug
or a pimp), as reflected in spelling of the very first cit., 1721, in which
it is sported by an 'Oxford smart'. It is elsewhere euated with a

Jonathon Green

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