Page22 - Tailpiece: where did these phrases come from?

What is the origin of familiar phrases? Here is a small selection to arouse your curiosity. 

"Bakers' Dozen" has just its true origin. 
"Cock and Bull" has three possibilities. 
With others l give two choices, one true one not. 
Answers below. 

Bakers' Dozen
During the Middle Ages the Bakers" Guild kept regular checks on the quality and weight of bread. Providing the baker met with their standards they were given a special stamp with which to mark the loaf signifying the Guild's approval. Using the stamp extracted a small quantity of the loaf so an additional morsel of bread was given with each loaf purchased. lf twelve loaves were purchased an extra loaf was given which was considered the equivalent of the amount extracted by the stamp on the twelve loaves.
The extra loaf was called the "vantage loaf", Hence - bakers' dozen is in effect thirteen.

No. 1. The ancient legendary Norse god Odin had a warrior son named "Bo". When Bo's army attacked the enemy they would yell the name of their leader at the top of their voices to startle and frighten their opponents.
No. 2. When French farmers wanted to herd their geese they would scare them indoors by making a noise like a cow. ln French cows don't go "moo" they go "beu". Hence also the expression "can't say boo to a goose".

No. 1. A canteen was originally a wine cellar and, from the wine tasting that took place there, the word was eventually used to describe any place where refreshments were served.
No. 2. A canteen is the name of a small vessel issued to soldiers to contain liquid refreshment. The name was later applied to a place where soldiers drank and ate.

No. 1. From chaplain a title now used only in connection with the clergy but which was originally used to describe a worthy or genial man. The abbreviated form of chap persists in applying to all men.
No. 2. The word comes from chapman which was the name given to a dealer - one who bought and sold. lt was then abbreviated to chap and was applied to any kind of man. 

Cock and Bull Story
lt is impossible to determine the true origin. Which one do you favour?
No. 1. From the high wide and handsome coaching days of the eighteenth century. There are two nearby inns in Stony Stratford, one called The Bull the other The Cock. London bound passengers changed horses at The Bull and Birmingham bound passengers used The Cock. The two inns vied with each other as to which was the better and fantastic stories about their
claims to superiority were bandied about between the coachmen and passengers and became known as Cock and Bull stories. The inns thrived during this period and still stand today.
No. 2. From the legend that one of these animals told the other a most unlikely story. No one has discovered what the story was. 
No. 3. A corruption of a concocted and bully story. Catch-pennies hawked about the streets were called cocks - that is a concocted thing. And bully from the Danish meaning exaggerated.

No. 1. From a corruption of two Italian words foglia capa which means a large sheet of paper
No. 2. Herr Spielmann came to England from Gennany in the 17th century and changed his name to Sir John Spilman. He opened a paper mill and decided to personalise his paper. Since his original German name meant player or actor he chose a jesters hat or fools cap as his water mark.

Spoil the ship for a h'apporth of tar
No. 1. With the passage of time the word ship has erroneously
taken the place of the original word sheep. It actually refers to the use of tar as a sheep dip and to use it frugally meant that the job was not done properly.
No. 2. This refers to a ship regarded as un-seaworthy because of the owner's reluctance to spend money on sufficient tar to render it waterproof

Hotchpotch or Hotchpot
No.1. This describes a cooking pot containing a mixture of many
ingredients. lt usually refers to either a soup or a stew, but the term has also been used to refer to a kind of pudding containing a mixture of ingredients.
No. 2. lf a person dies intestate and had, during their lifetime, made an advance to any of their beneficiaries, then the value of that advance would be taken into account when assessing each share. This is done by notionally retuming the gift to the estate before making an equal distribution. Hotchpotch is the expression used for this method of fair shares for all.

No. 1. From an ignorant lawyer called Ignoramus, a character in a l7th century play by George Ruggle.
No. 2. An ancient law term describing someone not acquainted with the law. The grand jury used to write ignoramus on the back of indictments "not found" or not to be sent into court signifying that the bill was to be ignored.

(scroll down for the answers...)


Bo - 1
Canteen - 1
Chap - 2
Foolscap - 2
Spoil the ship - 1
Hotchpotch - 2
Ignoramus - 2