"sling arms" (not in OED2) -- why not before 1824?

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Mon Apr 21 16:15:39 UTC 2014

On 4/19/14, 12:01 AM, Automatic digest processor wrote:
> Date:    Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:07:37 -0400
> From:    Jonathan Lighter<wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: "sling arms" (not in OED2) -- why not before 1824?
> Recall, however, that OED does have "Granadeers have a care. Sling your
> musketts." from 1688. It wasn't published till 1905, which may explain its
> absence from EEBO.
Good find. Now I have to go  and look and see what the source is. . .
> N&Q (Ser. 2) IX (Feb. 4, 1860) 77 has "1. Handle your Slings. 2. Sling your
> Firelocks." as drill commands for grenadiers in 1702. Musketeers are
> ordered instead to "Shoulder [firelocks]."
Yes. That's the more typical order: I've heard that during 1860s bayonet
> Grenadiers carried sling muskets because they needed both hands to prepare
> their grenades.
That makes sense.
> But I think the upshot of all this is that Bellona's "Arms" in the poem are
> unspecified "weapons," not her flesh-and-blood arms, and she's slung them,
> at her side or over her shoulder,  because the battle is over.
I'll concur with my esteemed colleague. Still favoring a firelock over a
sword. :-)

---Amy West

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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