25 June 2012

A dead ringer

As the comment was made on Facebook about liking to know word origins, I thought I would share this one as well. I don't recall if it was said in my tour of Edinburgh or of Glasgow, but I didn't share it because it was one I already knew.....
But maybe you've not heard it before.
In the middle ages, a person was declared dead if they. Could not be aroused from what. Might appear to be sleep. It wasn't a sure bet though, and sometimes if corpses were dug up (for various Easton's) they would find scratch marks on the inside of a coffin, evidence that the person had come back to and found themselves buried alive - and eventually died from this.
So it came to be that when a person was buried, a cord would be put in the coffin, and above the ground the cord was attached to a bell. If a person found themselves buried alive (oops) they could pull the cord and ring the bell --- hence "a dead ringer"

Speaking of dead folks really being alive, do you know why the Irish hold wakes with the corpse? Originally it was to be sure he was really dead and didn't 'wake' up!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Somewhere in Scotland

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