Antedating of "Striptease"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Apr 13 15:32:24 UTC 2014

At 4/13/2014 10:13 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>On Apr 12, 2014, at 10:40 PM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
> > "Died" is in the original.
>Right; I was assuming the typo (or eggcorn) was
>in the original; I can imagine similar
>reanalyses today (a sort of blend of "dyed in
>the wool" and "die-hard", if you prefer), but
>they're hard to search because of all the times
>the phrase is used in titular puns for mystery
>or crime novels involving knitting and/or sheep,
>including one by Ngaio Marsh.  (No doubt New
>Zealand is a prominent venue for many such mysteries.)

I analyze "died in the wool" as a retroformation
from being buried in wool.  British sumptuary
laws of the late 17th century required corpses to
be buried in woolen.  The following is from
"Justice in eighteenth-century Hackney: The
justicing notebook of Henry Norris and the
Hackney petty sessions book", ed. Ruth Paley,
Introduction (British History Online):

"A less dramatic part of the justices' business
related to burials in woollen. Under 30 Car. II
c3 [1678] an affidavit to the effect that a
corpse had been buried in woollen (unless the
cause of death was plague), taken before a
justice of the peace, had to be delivered to the
minister of the parish within 8 days of the
burial. The penalty for default was £5,* of which
half went to the poor of the parish and half to
the informer. To be buried in anything other than
a woollen shroud at this time was as ostentatious
a mark of conspicuous consumption as could be
imagined. Those who did not wish to be buried in
woollen (at least one Hackney resident was buried
in velvet instead) (fn. 45) may well have
arranged to pay an amount equivalent to a moiety
of the fine directly to the churchwardens."

"By the later eighteenth century this act had
largely (but not entirely) fallen into disuse,
but it is clear from these documents that it was
being enforced in early eighteenth century Hackney ..."

* Not insignificant.  Perhaps 2 months wages for
an ordinary laborer or a seaman in the mid-18th-century?


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