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cockney — “This great lubber, the world, will prove a,” TWELFTH NIGHT, iv. 1. 13 ; “as the cockney did to the eels,” KING LEAR, ii. 4. 120. “There is hardly a doubt that it [the term cockney] originates in an Utopian region of indolence and luxury, formerly denominated the country of cocaigne. . . . With us the lines cited by Camden in his Britannia, vol. i. col. 451,
‘Were I in my castle of Bungey
Upon the river of Waveney,
I would ne care for the king of Cockeney, ’ whencesoever they come, indicate that London was formerly known by this satirical name; and hence a Londoner came to be called a cockney” (DOUCE) . “The term cocknay appears in the Promptorium to imply simply a child spoiled by too much indulgence. . . . There can be little doubt that the word is to be traced to the imaginary region ‘ihote Cokaygne,’ described in the curious poem given by Hickes, Gramm. A. Sax. p. 231, and apparently translated from the French. Compare ‘le Fabliaus de Coquaigne,’ Fabl. Barbazan et Méon. iv. 175. Palsgrave gives the verb ‘To bring up lyke a cocknaye,’ mignotter; and Elyot renders ‘delicias facere, to play the cockney.’ ‘Dodeliner, to bring vp wantonly, as a cockney.’ Hollyband's Treasurie. See also Baret's Alvearie. Chaucer uses the word as a term of contempt; and it occasionally signifies a little cook, coquinator. Way's note on the Prompt. Parv. p. 86. In the second passage there is perhaps an allusion to some tale now not known.

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  • Cross-references in text-specific dictionaries from this page (2):
    • William Shakespeare, King Lear, 2.4
    • William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Or what you will, 4.1
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