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foolscap

A size of paper, about 330 x 200 (or 400) mm. It is said to be named from a former watermark representing a fool's cap.

foolscap

foolscap   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006

... a size of paper, about 330 x 200 (or 400) mm. It is said to be named from a former watermark representing a fool's...

Fool

Fool   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...bowmen, ‘bolt’ being the arrow of a crossbow. The good soldier shoots with a purpose, the foolish soldier at random. A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. Fool’s cap A conical cap with feather and bells, such as licensed fools used to wear. Foolscap Properly the jester’s cap and bells or the conical paper hat of a dunce . The former standard size of printing paper measuring 13½ x 17in (343 x 432mm) and of writing paper measuring 13¼ x 16½ in (337 x 419mm) took their name from an ancient watermark showing a fool’s head and...

Water

Water   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...wire during manufacture and while the paper is still wet. Watermarks were used as early as 1282 and served to identify the products of each paper mill. The watermark has in many instances been the origin of paper trade nomenclature. Thus the mark of the cap and bells gave ‘foolscap’, the posthorn gave ‘post’, the pot gave ‘pott’, and the crown and elephant similarly came to denote sizes of paper. Water of jealousy, The According to Mosaic law, if a woman was known to have committed adultery, she was to be put to death ( Deuteronomy 22:22 ). If, however,...

fool

fool 1   Quick reference

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Language reference, History of English
Length:
90 words

...attrib. use of the sb. ME. fōl sb. and adj. — OF. fol (mod. fou mad) :- L. follis bellows, inflated ball, (later fig.) ‘windbag’, empty-headed person. Hence fool vb. play the fool, make a fool of XVI. foolery XVI. foolhardy XIII. — OF. folhardi ‘foolish-bold’. foolscap ( fool's cap ) cap of a professional fool; folio paper of a kind that orig. bore a watermark representing a fool's cap....

fool

fool   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Language reference, History of English
Length:
236 words

... 1711 the poet Alexander Pope published the line which has become proverbial, ‘ Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.’ Eager prospectors have been mistaking worthless minerals such as iron pyrites, or fool's gold , for gold since the late 19th century. The term foolscap for a paper size dates from the late 17th century, and is said to be named after a former watermark representing a fool's cap. Sadly, a traditional story that after the Civil War Parliament gave orders that a fool's cap should replace the royal arms in the watermark of the...

cap

cap   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006

... a cap or hat worn as a symbol of dignity, or carried before a monarch on ceremonial occasions. if the cap fits, wear it used with reference to the assumed suitability of a name or description to a person's behaviour. An earlier related reference in N. Breton's Pasquil's Fools-Cap ( 1600 ), makes it clear that the cap was originally a dunce's cap. ( Compare if the shoe fits, wear it .) The saying is recorded from the mid 18th...

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