A "bit" in 1784?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Jan 23 00:52:19 UTC 2008

What do Jon, Jesse, and others make of this, from 1784?

A young gentlewoman lately arrived from Barbadoes, came to Leadenhall
market to buy a seragg of mutton for broth, for which the butcher
asked nine-pence. That's too much said she, cut it off, Sir, and I'll
give you a bit* for it. D-n your bit, Madam, I want none of your
bits, replied the butcher, I've got a much better bit at home.
*A bit in Barbadoes, is a piece of money valued at 7d.

Is this bit (n.2) sense 4.f. (woman, girl), earliest cite 1923- or
bit n.3 (uterus) latest cite c1466 -- or simply an uninteresting bit
(n.2) sense 2 (morsel, tit bit)?


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