A "bit" in 1784?

Paul paulzjoh at MTNHOME.COM
Wed Jan 23 03:30:30 UTC 2008

Perhaps just some nice word play; a bit as a monetary unit and a bit, as
I'll give you a bit of sex.

Joel S. Berson wrote:
> 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)?
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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